Monday, June 30, 2014

What an 1848 letter between two 16 year old cousins taught me about my family

Ann Marie Holt's gravestone
at the Oahu Cemetery, Honolulu, Hawaii
The following letter, written in Dorchester, a village outside of Boston, to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) in 1848 was written by Ann Marie Holt.  She was my first cousin five generations removed. Ann Marie wrote to her first cousin, John Owen Dominis.  She was about sixteen years old, and John was the same age.

Cousin John had gone to Hawaii when he was about five years old with his mother, to meet up his father, a sea captain who had made Honolulu his new residence.  Captain John Dominis was lost at sea in 1846, about two years before this letter was written. The Captain had built his Boston wife a fine home out of local wood and from parts shipped from Boston to Honolulu. He was going to China to buy furnishings for the new house when his ship was lost.  Auntie Mary (Jones) Dominis (1803-1889) decided to stay in Honolulu, and at about this time John was starting out on his own in business.  The fine home, known as “Washington Place”, mentioned in the letter, is still standing in Honolulu and serves as the Hawaiian Governor’s residence.

Auntie Mary had six sisters. One was my 4th great grandmother, Catherine Plummer (Jones) Younger (1799 – 1828) who was already dead by the time this letter was written.  Ann Marie’s mother was another sister, Ann Marie Stanwood (Jones) Holt (1811 – 1832), who had also died young in Boston.  Ann Marie’s father, Captain Robert William Holt, was also a sea captain who made many trips to Hawaii.  He had remarried to a native Polynesian woman in 1835 and his second wife and children were living in Honolulu.  When Ann Marie and her sister, Elizabeth (1830 – 1865), were a bit older, they traveled to Hawaii to reunite with their father. Unfortunately, Anne Marie, the author of this letter, died on 15 May 1851, at Washington Place, soon after disembarking at Honolulu. 

This letter is especially poignant to me because I knew that these two teenaged cousins, long separated by two oceans, would meet again in a few years under tragic circumstances.  Ann Marie must have arrived in Honolulu very ill, and died in cousin John’s own home soon after.

I am also imagining how difficult it was for family members to be separated in 1848.  How long did it take for a letter to get from Boston to Hawaii?  You can guess in the last paragraph that the family must have located a ship bound for Hawaii, and rushed to get letters on board before it sailed.

The “Aunt Agnes” mentioned in this letter is a fourth Jones sister from Boston.  All the sisters grew up in Boston’s North End, the daughter of Owen Jones, a mariner.  Agnes (Jones) Hart (1816 – 1890) was the youngest daughter.  She must have taken in her Holt nieces while they continued their education in Massachusetts, waiting for the day to join their father in Hawaii.  The “Aunt Lee” mentioned in this letter is the fifth daughter, Laura Williams (Jones) Lee (1890 – 1887).  The only sisters not mentioned in this letter were my 4th great grandmother, Catherine, already deceased, and the eldest daughter, Sarah Dargue (Jones) Snelling (1794 – 1875), whose husband Enoch Howes Snelling was a Boston glazier who provided the doors and windows for “the handsomest [house] on the Island”, Washington Place.

This letter was found in the Hawaii State Archives.  John Owen Dominis (1832 – 1891), the teenaged boy who was the recipient of this letter, grew up to marry Lydia Kamekeha Paki, who became Queen Lili’uokalani.  Thank goodness he saved this letter, and that his private papers were preserved by his wife and passed on to the Hawaii State Archives.  Finding this letter, and others like it, have helped me to piece together the story of the Jones sisters of Boston.  None of the sisters had their births or marriages recorded in city or state vital records.  Finding their kinship and family relationships has come together from these letters, family documents, oral history, church and official death records.

Source: Hawaii State Archives, Queen Lili’uokalani Collections, M-93, Box 11, Folder 104, Letter from A. M. Holt to John Owen Dominis, dated 13 August 1848.

                                                  Dorchester Aug. 13th 1848

Dear Cousin
                I found looking over my letters the other day
that I am in debt to you for two.  I thought that I must
do my best to pay you by writing to you this opportunity.
I am at Aunt Agnes’ visiting.  They have a very pleasant
place near Granite Bridge the house is old fashioned
but very good the fireplaces about two yards long wide
and a yard and a half long the panes of glass in the
windows about as large as a sheet of note paper.
I suppose that you have almost set up business for your-
self.  How do you like your house I should like to see it
very much as I understand it is the handsomest on
the Island.  Sarah Ann is in Boston visiting I suppose
she will write to you this opportunity we miss her
and the children very much she has two very pretty
little girls  I know that you long to see them.
Aunt Lee has left Charter St. at last and gone to
Bridgewater to live they have quite a farm I believe
keep cows hens &c.  Uncle William and Aunt Agnes send
love to your mother and she will write if she has
time but she has such a family that if the vessel
sails tomorrow she will not be able to.  Do you
ride as much as ever?  Write every opportunity
and believe me yours suffice
A.      M. H.

A.M.Holt, Dorchester
Aug. 13/48

John O. Dominis

For more information on the Jones sisters, see this blog post (my very first blog post in 2009!)

For more information on Ann Marie Holt and her grave in Honolulu, Hawaii

The URL for this post is

Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ STORY of Chebacco Parish, Ipswich, Massachusetts (now Essex, Massachusetts)

The Essex (Chebacco) River

William Story was the son of Robert Story in England.  His indenture record reads “Norwich England: An index of Indentures of Norwich Apprentices Enrolled with the Norwich Assembly: Henry VII – George II, page 157: Story, William, son of Robert, dec.; apprenticed to John Coats of Norwich, carpenter, 1634 for 7 years."   Somehow he broke this contract and arrived in Boston on 8 June 1637 from Yarmouth.  In the passenger list there was a Samuel Dix listed with two servants, and one was William Story, b. 1614, from Norwich.  Dix was a joiner (woodworker).  In the New England Historic Genealogical Register, Volume 14 (1860), page 325 there is a transcription of an old record from England “Aprill the 8th 1637.  The examinaction of Samuell Dix of Norwich in Norff. Joynar aged 43 yeares and Ioane his wife aged 38 yeares with 2 children, Presella and Abegell, and 2 Sauantes William Storey and Daniell Linsey, the one aged 23 and the other 18 years;  ar desirous to goe to Bostone in New England there to Inhabitt.”

William Story settled in the part of Ipswich known as the Chebacco Parish, and married Sarah Foster, the daughter of Judge Reginald Foster.  He built a sawmill on the Chebacco River in 1671.  One 31 March 1693 he deeded to his son, Seth “all my housing, lands, fences, orchards, &c belonging to my lands in Chebacco, in Ipswich, adjoining to Chebacco Falls River, having the latter on the E. and S.E. and land of Thos. Low on E. & N.E., and land of Renold [Reginald, his father-in-law] on S. &S.W., and Ipswich common on W. &N.W.”   It also states in the book  History of Essex, by Crowell, page 27, “William’s son, Seth, was married and lived with him, and on condition of his maintaining him the rest of his days, he conveyed to him by deed of gift the farm, which he ‘occupied’ ”.  Administration of his estate was granted to the son, Seth, my 8th great grandfather, on 20 January 1702/3, meaning he was about 89 years old when he died.

During King Philip’s War Seth Story served under Major Samuel Appleton as a sergeant.  He was also a deacon of the second church in Chebacco (now the town of Essex, Massachusetts).  He died at the age of 86.  This was a long lived family of Storys!  Seth had five children, and I descend from two of them: Zachariah and Elizabeth.

Notable descendants:  US President Millard Fillmore

For more information:

Descendants of William Story and Sarah Foster of Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts, by Betty Andrews Storey,2004 (also available to read online at )

Descendants of William Story Who Came to Ipswich in 1637: the first eight generations, by Robert Lee Pratt,  Baltimore, Maryland: Gateway Press, 2000

Story Family Papers, 1893 – 1905, by Emma Story White (1846 – 1909) a manuscript collection at the New England Historic Genealogical Society library in Boston, call number SG STO 3 107 includes a page handwritten genealogy of the descendants of William Story, with material on the Burnham and Foster families. She cites the sources in the margins.


My STORY genealogy:

Generation 1:  William Story, son of Robert Story, born about 1614 in Norwich, Norfolk, England, died before 20 January 1702/3 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married about 1638 to Sarah Foster, daughter of Reginald Foster and Judith Wignall, born 15 October 1620 in Exeter, Devonshire, England, died 1681 in Ipswich. Eight children.

Generation 2: Seth Story, born 1646 in the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich, died 9 October 1732 in Chebacco Parish; married about 1682 to Elizabeth Cross, born about 1649, died 13 February 1736.  Five children, I descend from two of them.

Lineage A:

Generation 3: Zachariah Story, born 14 March 1684 in Chebacco Parish, died 16 February 1774 in Windsor, Vermont; married Rachel Andrews, daughter of William Andrews and Margaret Woodward, born about 1695, died 6 August 1777 in Windsor. Ten children.

Generation 4: Deborah Story, born 1723, died 24 November 1821 in Essex, Massachusetts; married 10 November 1743 to Westley Burnham, son of David Burnham and Elizabeth Perkins, born October 1719, died 28 June 1797. Nine children, and I descend from two of them.

Lineage A1: 

Generation 5: Westley Burnham m. Molly Woodbury

Lineage A1a:

Generation 6: Asa Burnham m. Polly Bray
Generation 7: Lydia W. Burnham m. Samuel Mears
Generation 8: Samuel Mears m. Sarah Ann Burnham
Generation 9: Sarah Burnham Mears m. Joseph Gilman Allen
Generation 10: Joseph Elmer Allen m. Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 11: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

Lineage A1b:

Generation 6: Henry Burnham m. Sally Poland
Generation 7: Sarah Ann Burnham m. Samuel Mears (first cousins, see above)

Lineage B:

Generation 3: Sarah Burnham m. Abner Poland
Generation 4:  Sally Poland m. Henry Burnham
Generation 5: Sarah Ann Burnham m. Samuel Mears (second cousins, see above)

The URL for this post is

Copyright 2014 ©, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Hunt for Alva A. Hunt, Civil War Veteran

Today's blog post was written by a guest blogger, Penny Webster.  I first met Penny through the Londonderry Historical Society.  She is also a member of the New Hampshire Mayflower Society, and she serves on the board as Elder.  I read about this story on Penny's Facebook page, and she agreed to write it up for my blog.  Thanks, Penny!


Alva A. Hunt is my 2nd great grandfather.  He was born on May 20, 1843 in Nassau, NY and sometime during the mid 19th Century crossed over the Massachusetts border with his parents and siblings and settled in Pittsfield, MA.  There he worked as a teamster.  On March 19, 1864 he enlisted for a 3 year shift as a member of the 57th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers fighting against the Confederacy during the Civil War.  Alva’s military career would be cut short for he would be seriously wounded at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in Spotsylvania, VA.  A bullet that disabled his right arm led to his discharge.

Before being discharged, Alva married Julia Baker on October, 10, 1864.   They remained married for a little over 20 years and during that time Julia would give birth to 9 children.  Sadly, she would die from pneumonia in 1886 at the age of 36, a little over a month after the birth of her daughter, Grace.  Upon his discharge from the Army Alva continued working as a teamster but by the next census, he is listed merely as a farmer and this continued until his death in Pittsfield in 1901.  

Last fall I decided to take a trip to Pittsfield.  It was a new revelation to learn that my mother’s family came from Pittsfield.  I wanted to see Alva’s grave.  So my mother and I headed to Pittsfield and easily found the large cemetery on Wahconah Street.  I inquired at the cemetery office.  They told me what section of the cemetery to look for his grave but they had no indication if there was a gravestone or not.  We searched and searched but found no Hunt marker.  I returned to the office and asked for more assistance. This time I was given the surnames of his graveyard “neighbors.”  We found the neighbors, but no stone.  Was my great-great grandfather so poor that he couldn’t afford a grave marker?  Was it too hard to be a one-armed teamster or farmer?  Saddened we left Pittsfield. 

I remembered, a few months later that the Veteran’s Administration would pay for a marker for a Veteran’s unmarked grave. So I applied in February, filled out the FORM 1330 and coordinated with the Cemetery to validate my request and receive the marker.  Excitement was building.  The marker would be delivered to the cemetery in a couple of months and I would feel like I did something significant for Alva and my family. 

Recently, my mother and I made a second trip to Pittsfield to view the marker. It looked great but it seemed to be in an unfamiliar area.  To our surprise as we surveyed the ground we found a sizable monument nearby with A.A. Hunt’s name on the bottom! Also inscribed was Julia’s name with her birth and death dates. What a shock! It seems that last time we were sent to the wrong area. Alva wasn't in an unmarked grave after all! I feel better knowing that Alva wasn't poor.  He had bought this sizable monument for his wife when she died in 1886.  I wonder why his children neglected to inscribe his dates on it after his death,.   At least the VA marker solves this problem.     It does make me happy to know that Alva has received recognition for his Civil War service since his death.  We found an American flag planted next to our unpredicted find.


The URL for this post is

Copyright (c) 2014, Penny Webster and Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Thar She Blows!

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly.  I started by publishing weather vanes from the Londonderry area, but now I've been finding interesting weather vanes all across New England.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are interesting. Often, my readers tip me off to some very unique and unusual weather vanes, too! Today's weather vane is from Essex, Massachusetts.

Do you know the location of weather vane #162? Scroll down to the bottom to see the answer!

Today's weather vane was seen on the cupola above a barn on Lufkin Street in Essex, Massachusetts.  Essex was a wooden ship building community (and still is!) and is located next door to Gloucester, Massachusetts, which is even more famous for fishing and maritime occupations. The sea, the history of the region and perhaps someone's job as a whaler in the distant past make this weather vane a perfect fit for Essex.  This two dimensional weather vane was hard to spot through the trees, but well worth pulling over to take a few quick photographs.

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

The URL for this post is

Copyright 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ ROBIE at Pine Grove Cemetery, Manchester, New Hampshire

This tombstone was photographed at the Pine Grove Cemetery, Manchester, New Hampshire

The URL for this post is

Copyright 2014 (c), Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, June 23, 2014

Family Reunions Summer 2014

Descendants of Captain John Locke met in Concord, NH 2013

(This list is for New England families only.  All require preregistration, so please look for further information through the associated websites or family association newsletters. If you know of more reunions being held, please leave a comment or email

June 28, Stockwell Family Association Annual Reunion, for anyone with the Stockwell family name, to be held in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire

July 19, Adams Family Association Reunion, in Wilton, Maine, for descendants of Martha and Moses Adams.  See the website  

July 21 - 26, The 53rd Reunion of the Doane Family Association of America will be held at the Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, Michigan.  See the website for more information

July 24 - 27, The Folsom Family Assocation Reunion at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, for descendants of the immigrant John Foulsham and his wife, Mary Gilman who came to Hingham, MA and Exeter, NH.  See the website for more information

July 25 and 26, Felton Family Reunion, descendants of Nathaniel Felton, Salem (Peabody), Massachusetts, at the Felton-Smith Historical Site, Peabody, Massachusetts, see the website of the Felton Family Association for more information and details 

August 1 – 3, Strong Family Association of America, descendants of Elder John Strong of Connecticut, in San Antonio, Texas at the Historic Crockett Hotel, for more information

August 1 – 3, The 124th Locke Family Association Reunion, descendants of Capt. John Locke of Rye, New Hampshire,  Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. At the Days Inn on York Street.  Events include a battlefield tour, a living history presentation, visits to the New Hampshire monuments and an annual family meeting on Saturday.  For more information see the website

August 1 - 3, 84th Annual Steer Family Reunion, for descendants of John Steer, to be held in Rhode Island, see this PDF for more information

August 7 -10, Towne Family Association Reunion, for descendants of William Towne and Joanna Blessing, at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 50 Ferncroft Road, Danvers, Massachusetts.  Click here for the registration and information PDF

August 8 - 10, Kimball Family Reunion, descendants of Richard Kimball who came to America in 1634 and settled in Watertown and Ipswich, Massachusetts, at the Beacon Resort in Lincoln, New Hampshire.  See the website for more information The reunion contacts are Sylvia and Ralph Stevens at their email Sylvia DOT stevens AT myfairpoint DOT net

August 15 – 16, Colby Family Reunion, for descendants of Anthony Colby of Massachusetts, to be held in Amesbury, Massachusetts.  See this link

August 16, RÉUNION DE LA FAMILLE LEBLANC, LEBLANC FAMILY REUNION, to be held in Edmundston, New Brunswick during the Congres Modial Acadien.  See the website   to register.

August 23 – 24, Sgt. William Harlow Family Association Annual Reunion, to be held at the Beal House in Kingston, Mass. and at the Harlow Old Fort House in Plymouth, Mass.

September 5-6, Meader Family Association Annual Reunion, descendants of John Meader of Piscataqua who settled in Durham, New Hampshire in 1624, to be held at the Rochester, New Hampshire Holiday Inn Express.  For details

September 5 -7, The Nickerson Family Association Reunion, for descendants of William Nickerson and his wife Anne Busby.  Held at Cape Cod, with the annual meeting on September 6 (Saturday) at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.  See the website for more information

September 5 - 7 The Tenney Family Association Reunion, descendants of immigrant John Tenney, at Rowley Massachusetts in conjunction with the 375th Anniversary of the town of Rowley.  For more information see

September 6, The Harriman Family Association Reunion, the descendants of Leonard and John Harriman immigrants to Rowley, Mass. and New Haven, CT, circa 1638, held in conjunction with the 375th anniversary of the town of Rowley, Massachusetts.  See the website

September 7 – 9, General Society of Mayflower Descendants Congress, Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Several Family meetings will convene during the triennial Mayflower Congress in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Please refer to the family society websites for more information, including changes and additions to meetings.

Friday, September 5,     10:30 am – Samson Society
                                      Afternoon – Warren and Bartlett Societies                                                          
                                      6 pm – Howland, Warren and Bartlett Societies banquet                                     
Saturday, September 6,    9:30am Brown Society  email
                                      10am  Howland Society
                                       2 pm Brewster Society memorial service at Brewster Gardens                              
                                      3pm Brewster Society meeting
                                      6pm Brewster Society dinner
                                      6pm Allerton Society reception and dinner
Sunday, September 7    10am Hopkins Society meeting and luncheon                                                      
Monday, September 8   5pm  White Society meeting  email

September 26 -28, Old Planters Reunion in Beverly, Massachusetts, for the Old Planters families of the Beverly including Balch, Cressey, Woodbury, etc.  See the Beverly Historical Society website for more information, and a registration form PDF is online at this link

September 27, 110th Reunion of the John Libby Association

October 4 2014 Annual Meeting Wyman Family Association: at the Francis Wyman House in Burlington, MA  10:00 am - 2:00 pm.  Our annual meeting will be on Saturday, October 4th this year. House tours will start at 10:00 am, Meeting at 11:00am , Family picture at Noon, followed by lunch, and then our preservation architect; John Goff, will present his preservation skills school report.  

Coming in 2015

The Global Family Reunion -  See the website for more information or watch the TED talk video by AJ Jacobs at this link  

The Grinnell Family Association Reunion at New Bedford, Massachusetts (tentative)

Foote Family Association Reunion, descendants of Nathaniel Foote of Connecticut, to be held in Salt Lake City

Nye Family Reunion, Sandwich, Massachusetts, September 2015

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ WOODWARD of Boston and Ipswich, Massachusetts

The Woodward compiled genealogy book (see below)


Ezekiel Woodward is NOT a son of Nathaniel Woodward of Boston, which is often seen in online genealogies and some old genealogy books.  He  died in Wenham, Massachusetts in 1699.  According to the book Some Descendants of Nathaniel Woodward, 1984, page 4 “It is not on record that Ezekiel Woodward was a son of Nathaniel Woodward but he used the names of his stepmother and of his half-sister and of two sisters-in-law for four of his daughters, and his brother Nathaniel had a son and a grandson named Ezekiel.  He was also a carpenter, as was Nathaniel1, and bought land in Boston in 1651.

Before I go on, remember that the daughters of Ezekiel were Anne, Sarah, Margaret, Elizabeth, Prudence, Martha, Mary and Rachel.  These were all common Puritan names.  It also supposes that Nathaniel2 was his brother.  It may point to a kinship, but there is still no proof that Ezekiel is Nathaniel1 Woodward’s son.  An 1894 article in the NEHGS Register, “Descendants of Nathaniel Woodward,” Volume 51, page 172 does not name Ezekiel as a son, and neither does the Great Migration Begins.

In the Gates Dawes genealogy (see below), page 671 there is an interesting story about Ezekiel Woodward:

Ezekiel was married thirdly to SARAH (KNOWLTON?) PIPER, widow of Nathaniel of Wenham,… and thereby hangs a tale, for she had been receiving attentions from one John Poland and may even have been engaged to marry him.  After her marriage to Ezekiel, certain men taunted Poland with having “lost his widow”, asked how “Woodward got along with his new wife”, etc. In order to “save his face” Poland began to peddle lies and on 20 June 1679, Ezekiel brought suit against Poland for defamation, for slandering him and his wife.  The case came to trial in Sep 169, and witnesses testified that Poland had said the widow had a poor bargain with Ezekiel and she repented of it: that Ezekiel did not deserve her, and her friends wondered that she left Poland. Then Poland became intrigued with is subject and claimed that the widow’s brother Knowlton “sayd to me yt shee came to him slaubering & crying & sayd yt she was undone by marrying Woodward: & that shee was very much Troubled that she had wronged me; yt is Poland & That she was not able to see me but watterd her plants at the meeting at the very sight of me & did grately bemone herself that shee should offer so much wrong to Polend & that I derst not goe to the meeting at Wenham for every Time she see mee she is nott able to bare it but is ready for to swound away”

“A verdict was rendered in favor of Ezekiel and Poland was ordered to make acknowledgement of his fault so at this same court he “made open confession in court that he had done wrong to widow Piper, now the wife of Ezekiel Woodward, in speaking the words to which the witnesses testified, and was sorry for it, desiring the court to forgive him” – which seems an easy way out for him!

I like this story because John Poland is my 9th great grandfather, through his first wife, Bethiah Friend.  John Poland married a woman named Margery sometime in 1680.  Sarah Piper married Ezekiel as his third wife sometime after 3 December 1678 when his second wife, Elizabeth, widow of John Solart, died.  Ezekiel Woodward is also my 9th great grandfather.  I descend from two of his daughters by his first wife, Anne Beamsley: Margaret and Prudence. 

Some WOODWARD resources:

Some Descendants of Nathaniel  Woodward who came from England to Boston about 1630, by Harold Edward Woodward, Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1984. (Ignore pages 3 – 4 which name Ezekiel as Nathaniel’s son, this book is mostly unsourced.)

There is another compiled genealogy about the Woodward family, the Ezekiel (1) Woodward sketch on pages 666 – 676 in the American Ancestry of Mary Beman (Gates) Dawes by Mary Walton Ferris, Chicago: R. R. Donnelley & Sons (privately printed), volume 1, 1931.

Great Migration Begins, by Robert Charles Anderson, Volume III, pages 2061 - 2064. 

There is no article about Ezekiel Woodward listed in Martin Hollick’s New Englanders in the 1600s which lists new research articles and books as possible source information.

If you are lucky enough to see the British BBC version of Who do You Think You Are?  with celebrity Richard Madely, it shows how his ancestor Ezekiel Woodward was a sergeant during King Philip’s War and was in the Great Swamp Fight of 1675.  I haven’t seen this episode yet.  Does anyone know if it is online somewhere?

My WOODWARD genealogy:

Generation 1:  Ezekiel Woodward,  died 29 January 1699 in Wenham, Massachusetts; married first to Anne Beamsley in January 1650 in Boston; married second to Elizabeth Unknown on 20 December 1672 in Wenham, the widow of John Solart; married third to Sarah Edwards, widow of Nathaniel Piper.

Lineage A:

Generation 2: Margaret Woodward, born 24 February 1655 in Boston, died 22 May 1716 in Scarborough, Maine; married on 20 October 1672 in Ipswich, Massachusetts to William Andrews, son of John Andrews and Jane Jordan.  He was born in 1649 and died on 7 February 1716/7 in the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich.

Generation 3: John Andrews m. Elizabeth Story
Generation 4: Abigail Andrews m. Jeremiah Burnham
Generation 5: Abigail Burnham m. Isaac Allen
Generation 6: Joseph Allen m. Judith Burnham
Generation 7: Joseph Allen m. Orpha Andrews
Generation 8: Joseph Gilman Allen m. Sarah Burnham Mears
Generation 9: Joseph Elmer Allen m. Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 10: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

Lineage B:

Generation 2:  Prudence Woodward, born 4 April 1660 in Boston, died 9 June 1732; married on 2 November 1677 in Ipswich to Benjamin Marshall, son of Edmund Marshall and Millicent Unknown.  He was born 27 September 1646 in Salem, Massachusetts; died 25 November 1716 in Ipswich.
Generation 3: Benjamin Marshall m. Bethiah Goodhue
Generation 4: Elizabeth Marshall m. David Burnham
Generation 5: Amos Burnham m.  Sarah Giddings
Generation 6: Judith Burnham m. Joseph Allen (see above)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Surname Saturday ~ WOODWARD of Boston and Ipswich, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted June 21, 2014, ( accessed [access date]). 

Friday, June 20, 2014

June 21st, the Birthday of New Hampshire, and the Birthday of the U.S. Constitution!

June 21st is New Hampshire's 226th birthday.  This is the anniversary of the day our state ratified the U.S. Constitution and joined the United States of America on June 21, 1788.  We were the 9th colony to ratify the constitution, and since a 2/3 majority of the 13 colonies was needed to pass the document, we were the deciding vote.   So June 21st is also the birthday of the U.S. Constitution.

5 colonies, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Connecticut were the first to quickly ratify the constitution earlier in 1788.  The rest of the colonies wanted to be assured that there were going to be protections of certain political rights (the freedoms of speech, religion, press, etc. that became the first amendments).  This compromise was reached in February 1788, and Massachusetts, South Carolina and Maryland ratified next.

After New Hampshire passed the deciding vote June 21, 1788 it was agreed that the new government would begin on March 4, 1789.  That next New York and Virginia ratified, followed by North Carolina and lastly Rhode Island on May 29, 1790.

To celebrate, the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth is letting any New Hampshire resident visit this weekend (June 21 and 22) for FREE (bring proof of residence).

Also, to celebrate New Hampshire's birthday, UNH is sponsoring "Meet Your Milk Day" at the open barn 10am to 2pm on Saturday, June 21st.  Come to the NHAES/COLSA Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center to meet the cows, try some ice cream and milk, take a wagon ride and other fun activities. This is a fun day for the whole family to learn about the dairy industry in New Hampshire.


A transcription of "Ratification of the Constitution by the State of New Hampshire"

Special events at Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Meet Your Milk Day at UNH


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "June 21st, the Birthday of New Hampshire, and the Birthday of the U.S. Constitution!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted June 20, 2014, ( accessed [access date]). 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Great Salem Fire 25 June 1914

Salem, after the fire, Library of Congress photograph

There was a long drought in May and June of 1914 on the North Shore of Massachusetts.  Then a fire was reported on the afternoon of 25 June 1914 at the Korn leather factory at 57 Boston Street in Salem.  It quickly spread across the street and the police called 21 other communities for help, and over 90 men from other towns appeared.  Over a million spectators from all over the North Shore watched the fire from across Beverly and Marblehead harbors, and from the hills of nearby towns like Lynn.  It burned 253 acres (two square miles) and 1,376 buildings. 20,000 people lost their homes (out of a population of 48,000).  For a crowded city squeezed onto a peninsula by a harbor, this was a significant blow.  Unbelievably,  there were only three deaths and two missing people.

I checked the census records to see where my ancestors were living in Salem in 1914 at the time of the Great Salem Fire.  I remembered that my paternal grandfather, Donald Wilkinson, was born on Lafayette Avenue, where the fire swept through with a vengeance.  My maternal great grandfather, Arthur Hitchings, was born in Salem, and although in 1914 he was living next door in Beverly, his family was still in Salem.  His niece, Muriel Herrick, was born in 1913, but she told me that she had vivid memories of being carried over the Salem/Beverly bridge and seeing the city on fire behind her.  She was lucky to have relatives to stay with in Beverly, since most of the displaced citizens lived in a tent city erected on Salem Common and Forest River Park (near where Salem State College is on Lafayette Street.)

My grandfather, Donald Munroe Wilkinson (1895 – 1977) was 18 years old in 1914.  His father, Albert Munroe Wilkinson had died in 1908, and his widowed mother, Isabella (Bill) (1863 – 1935) was living at 4 Loring Avenue in the 1910 Federal Census and in the 1920 Federal Census with my grandfather and his sister.  This house is on the corner of Lafayette Street, not far from Salem State College. According to several maps of the Salem Fire I have seen online, this area is just south of where the fire swept through from the Korn factory to Salem harbor, crossing Lafayette Street.  This was a double house, and on the other side, a distant cousin, Franklin Daniel Wilkinson’s (1845 – 1911) widow, Catherine, was living at this time period, too.

I don’t remember my grandfather ever talking about the Great Fire. Since he was a teenager that year, he must have had some strong memories.  I wish I could go back in time to pick his brain about this piece of history. I'm sure he could remember something, just like cousin Muriel's memories.

Muriel Herrick, the small child who remembered being carried across the bridge, almost lived to see the centennial of the Great Fire. She passed away at age 100, on 24 January 2014.  Her parents, Moses Herrick (1880 – 1922) and Mabelle Hitchings (1881 – 1916), lived at Bentley Street in the 1910 Federal Census. Moses and the children were living at 4 Smith Street in the 1920 Federal Census. Bentley Street was near, but not consumed by the conflagration.  I suppose they fled out of fear of the unknown. Can you imagine the citizens of Salem fleeing this fire, not knowing if they would ever return to their homes?  The fire was only blocks away from Bentley Street.  Smith Street was further away, and nearer to the Beverly bridge.  I’m lucky that both the Herricks and the Wilkinsons did not lose their homes during the Great Fire.

There are many activities going on in Salem to remember the Great Fire, and to commemorate the heroes and victims.  Salem State University is holding a symposium from June 20 – 21st.   There will be a moment of silence and a ceremony on Wednesday, June 25th.   See below for a schedule.

For more information:

Salem Fire fact sheet

The Salem Fire, by Arthur B. Jones    online book

Creative Salem – A list of events commemorating the Great Salem Fire

A Sanborn Insurance Map showing the area of destruction after the Salem Fire

Digital Commons at Salem State University, Salem Fire Photos

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Two boats by the sea

Every Wednesday for almost a year and half 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 weathervanes can be seen on the New Hampshire seacoast. Have fun guessing where you may have seen this weather vane.

Do you know the location of weather vanes #160 and #161? Scroll down to see the answer....

These two different boats were found on Ocean Boulevard in Rye, New Hampshire.  The first is a highly detailed lobster boat.  Even from the main road the tiny propeller and a mini lobster pot were visible, making it clear that this was a working fisherman's vessel, not a pleasure boat.   The second boat is a sailboat, complete with rigging and a fluttering banner from the top of the mast.  Both boats are three dimensional vanes atop private residences.

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Copyright 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 DDOS Attack Press Release

I received this press release from Ancestry at 1:45 today:

Distributed Denial of Service Attack Neutralized

Around 1:30 p.m. MT on Monday, June 16, 2014, attackers targeted Ancestry with a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS). During the attack, Ancestry websites along with the Find A Grave website were clogged with massive amounts of bogus traffic that took the sites down.

We want to apologize for the inconvenience this has caused and also thank you for your amazing support, as this may have interrupted some of your family history research. We understand how frustrating this can be for our customers, and please know that it was just as frustrating for us too. We appreciate your patience and support as we dealt with this unfortunate incident against Ancestry.

We have since neutralized the DDoS attack and our services have been up since 11:00 a.m. MT today. You should now be able to access all Ancestry and Find A Grave websites, though you may experience issues intermittently as we continue to work through bringing the sites back up to full capacity.

Your data was not compromised by this attack. This attack overloaded our servers with massive amounts of traffic but did not impact or access the data within those servers. No data was impacted in any way.

I would like to thank the Ancestry Web Operations team for working really hard throughout the night to restore the Ancestry and Find A Grave services and build the defenses necessary to mitigate future attacks of this sort. Our Web Operations team is closely monitoring the situation in case the attacks resume and we’re doing everything in our power to protect our websites from situations like this in the future.

Thank you.

Scott Sorensen
Chief Technology Officer


If you are wondering what a DDOS might be, this is a great explanation at You Tube   

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Abolitionists and Doctors, Husband and Wife, Esther and John Hawks of Manchester, New Hampshire

This tombstone was photographed at Pine Grove Cemetery, Manchester, New Hampshire

1833 - 1906

1826 - 1910


Esther Hill, the daughter of Permenas Hill and Jane Kimball,  married Dr. John Milton Hawks, son of Colburn Hawks and Clarissa Brown,  5 October 1854 in Manchester, New Hampshire.  During their honeymoon in Florida, they were both abolitionists, she wanted to become a doctor to help the black people in the south.  Esther began to study her husband's medical books in order to attend medical school at the New England Medical College for Women.  In 1857 she was one of the first woman doctors in the U.S.

During the Civil War Hilton Head Island off South Carolina was occupied by the North it became a haven for freed black slaves.  NH native and Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase sent a envoys to oversee the construction of new towns and services for the freedmen.  Plans were set in place for education, housing, employment and hospitals.  Dr. John Hawks joined the U.S. Colored Troops to care for the freed slaves at Hospital #10 and his wife, wanted to come as a nurse, since female doctors were not allowed.  Her application as a nurse was also rejected so she came as a teacher. 

Esther did serve as director of the hospital in her husband's absence during the war because replacement surgeons were not sent.  When the valiant men of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry lost their attempt to take Fort Wagner (as seen in the 1989 movie Glory), the wounded were sent to hospital #10 and healed by the Drs. Hawks.  From her diary "The only thing that sustained us was the patient endurance of those stricken heroes lying before us, with their ghastly wounds, cheerful and courageous."

Esther Hawks spent the rest of the war educating Black soldiers and their wives and children. After the war the freedmen and the Hawks settled in Port Orange, Florida as homesteaders in their own right.  Dr. Esther Hawks was a teacher in the first integrated school at Port Orange until it was burned by protesters in January 1869.  They removed back North to Lynn, Massachusetts and she took up a medical practice again. She died in Lynn and was buried here at Pine Grove in Manchester, New Hampshire, her birthplace. Dr. John Hawks died in Hawks Park, now Edgewater, Florida and was buried there.  His name is on his wife's tombstone, as a cenotaph memorial. 

For more information:

Wikipedia John Milton Hawkes  


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ Abolitionists and Doctors, Husband and Wife, Esther and John Hawks of Manchester, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted June 17, 2014,  ( accessed [access date]). 

Monday, June 16, 2014

June and July Genealogy and Local History Calendar for New England

June 16, Monday – Saturday June 21, Program in New England Studies, an intensive week long learning experience, with lectures by specialists in history, architecture, preservation, and the decorative arts. Workshops and tours of Historic New England properties, museums and private houses. $1500 Historic New England members, $1550 non-members.  Call 617-994-6629 to register or for more information.

June 19, Thursday, 7pm, The Barns of Maine: Our History, Our Stories, at the Nickels Sortwell House, 121 Main Street, Wiscasset, Maine, $5 Historic New England members, $10 nonmembers.  Registration recommended 207-882-7169.

June 20, Friday, 11am Walk with Washington at the Governor Langdon House, 143 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, $6 Historic New England members, $12 non members.  Walk the streets of Portsmouth in the footsteps of George Washington when he visited the city in 1789. Call 603-436-3205 for required registration.

June 21, Saturday, 11am, Beacon Hill Walking Tour, at the Otis House, 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, Massachusetts, $6 Historic New England members, $12 nonmembers.  Registration recommended, call 617-994-5920. 

June 21, Saturday, noon, Quin Shea:  Fall River Irish and Raynham Acadians, sponsored by the Bristol County Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, at the Somerset Public Library, 1464 County Street, Somerset, MA,

June 21 and 22, Saturday and Sunday, Black History Weekend at Sturbridge Village Museum, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.  For more information see this link

June 21 and 22, Starke’s Garrison and Muster at the Fort at No. 4, Charlestown, New Hampshire.  Don’t miss this two day re-enactment of the assembly point for colonial troops under General John Stark on the eve of the Battle of Bennington in 1777.  See for more information.

June 21 and 22, Black History Weekend at Sturbridge Village, Visitors will learn about the movement to abolish slavery in the early 19th century and also enjoy activities and crafts with African-American themes. for more information.

June 26, Thursday, Capturing Beauport, at Beauport, the Sleeper McCann House, 75 Eastern Point Boulevard, Gloucester, Massachusetts, $25 Historic New England members, $50 non-members.  Have you ever wanted to take photos of Beauport’s interiors.  This is your chance for a regular tour with extra time to take photos (usually not permitted).  Call 978-283-9889 for more information or to register.

June 26, Thursday, 1:30 – 3:30pm, Tea with Miss Constance, at the Roseland Cottage, 556 Route 169, Woodstock, Connecticut, Take tea with Miss Constance, the Great Lady of Rose Cottage and tour the house that three generations of Bowens called home.  Required hat, gloves, dresses for girls, and Sunday best for boys.  Registration required call 860-928-4074.  $10 Historic New England members, $18 non members.

June 27, Friday, 11am, Walk with Washington, (see above)

June 28, Saturday, 11am Beacon Hill Walking Tour (see above)

June 28, Saturday, 1pm Abigail Adams: Life, Love, Letters, at the North Bridge Visitor Center, Minuteman National Park, Concord, Massachusetts.  Free to the public.

June 28, Saturday, 10:30am, Farming in Waltham, at the Lyman Estate, 185 Lyman Street, Waltham, Massachusetts, $5 Historic New England members, $10 non members, Registration recommended 617-994-6678.

June 29, Sunday, 5:30pm The Way They Were, at the Hamilton House, 40 Vaughan’s Lane, South Berwick, Maine.  Go behind the scenes to learn about the daily routines of domestic servants.  Registration required 207-384-2454. $8 Historic New England members, $15 non members.

June 29, Sunday, 11am, Vintage Baseball Quadruple Header, Newburyport Clamdiggers vs Lowell Baseball Club, Lynn Live Oaks vs Portsmouth Rockinghams, at the Spencer Peirce Little Farm, 5 Little’s Lane, Newbury, Massachusetts, Watch baseball with 1860s rules.  Grass field seating, bring a chair or blanket, no reserved seating.  Weather permitting.  Call 978-462-2634 for more information.  Free to Historic New England members, $5 non members.

July 3, Thursday, noon, Lunch & Learn: RMS Titanic: Massachusetts Connections, at Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Free to members, $8 non-members, presented by Dr. Walter Powell, executive director of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.  Bring your lunch and listen to the presentation about the tragic sinking and the Bay State’s many ties to the ship.  In the Accomack Building next to the visitor center.

July 4, Independence Day Celebration at Old Sturbridge Village.  Join the parade and huzzah during a rousing patriotic reading of the Declaration of Independence. for more information.

July 8, Tuesday, Passenger Lists, Censuses and Naturalizations: The Big 3 Sources for Family History, at the National Archives facility in Waltham, Massachusetts, 380 Trapelo Road, Free to the public.  Learn how to locate and use these resources, and there will be assistance from archives staff and volunteers.

July 19, Saturday, Fire & Ice Day at Sturbridge Village Museum, Sturbridge, Massachusetts, Half price admission to all firefighters.  See demonstrations of old fashioned fire fighting including a demonstration of an historical 19th century hand pump fire truck, a fire truck parade and a Fire Explorer Scout muster. For more information see this link

July 26, Saturday, Massachusetts Genealogical Council Annual Seminar, at the Mansfield Holiday Inn, 31 Hampshire Street, Mansfield, Massachusetts, for more information see the website or call 508-339-2200.

August 7, Thursday, noon, Lunch & Learn, Visual Images of Metacomet after King Philip’s War, at Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts. Bring your lunch, or buy one in the visitor center, and listen to a presentation by Joyce Rain Anderson.  Free to members, $8 non-members.

September 4, Thursday, noon, Lunch & Learn: The Restoration and Re-Launch of the Whaling Ship Charles W. Morgan, at Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Bring a lunch, or buy one in the visitor center, and listen to Dr. Elysa Engelman of the Mystic Seaport speak about the whaling ship Charles W. Morgan, originally launched in 1841.  Free to members, non-members $8.

August 2 and 3, Saturday and Sunday, Redcoats and Rebels, at the Sturbridge Village Museum, Sturbridge, Massachusetts, the largest military re-enactment in New England with 1,000 soldiers portraying British, Irish, Spanish, Scottish, French and Colonial troops. For more information see this link

August 20, Wednesday, 6pm New England Powder Houses, at the House of Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, Massachusetts, a lecture by Matthew Thomas, Free to members, non-members $15, reservations recommended 978-744-0991 ext. 104

September 27, Saturday, 2pm, Colonial Garden Talk, by Roby Kanter, , at the House of Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, Massachusetts, a lecture by Matthew Thomas, Free to members, non-members $15, reservations recommended 978-744-0991 ext. 104

November 19, Wednesday, 6pm, The Schooner Fame, by Capt. Mike Rustein, , at the House of Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, Massachusetts, a lecture by Matthew Thomas, Free to members, non-members $15, reservations recommended 978-744-0991 ext. 104

Local Genealogy Club Meetings
(some clubs take a summer hiatus, so check before you go!)

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.

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)

Littleton Genealogy Club, at the Couper Room in the Littleton, Massachusetts Reuben Hoar Public Library, third Monday of the month. For more information see the website at

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

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

Rowley, Massachusetts Genealogy Club, meets the 2nd Monday of each month at the Rowley library, 6 -8pm in the Local History Room.  141 Main Street, Rowley, Massachusetts 978-948-2850

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

South Shore Genealogical Society, at the John Curtis Free Library, Rt. 139, Hanover, Mass at 1:30pm ever second Saturday of the month from September to June.

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 Wednesday at NEHGS, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

Monthly Irish Study Genealogy Group, usually every 4th Saturday of the month at NEHGS, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts between 9:30 and noon in the Education Center (2nd floor).  Contact Mary Ellen Grogan for more information and to confirm the meeting time and date.

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Copyright 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo