Saturday, December 17, 2016

Surname Saturday ~ YOUNGER of Gloucester, Massachusetts

The first YOUNGER in this lineage is William Younger, My 6th great grandfather, who married Lucy Foster in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1750 and had four children.  I don't know his origins, nor his birth or death information.  According to Babson's History of of Gloucester, William Younger is listed on page 261 under  "a list of settlers from 1701 to 1750 inclusive, which contains all new-comers who are known to have been heads of families during that period."

I descend from William's third child, and second son, Levi Younger (1756 - about 1806), my 5th great grandfather. Gloucester is a famous New England fishing port, and has been the home of mariners and fisherman from the beginning of its history until today.  Levi served in the Revolutionary War as a seaman.  He was enlisted in Captain Bradbury Sanders 2nd company on 13 January 1776"for defense of the seacoast".  Apparently Levi was captured by the British.  He was exchanged for a British prisoner named James Price,  and sent to New York on the Favorite.

Apparently Levi Younger was imprisoned in Forton Prison in England, which was an infamously bad place.  Try Googling it to read some hair raising stories.  Among the Franklin Papers I found this interesting letter written to Dr. Benjamin Franklin in 1782.  I have transcribed Levi Younger's name in bold  [from  accessed 22 August 2015]:

From Daniel Edwards et al.
als: American Philosophical Society
L’Orient April 8th: 1782.
Haveing had the good fortune to make our Escape from Forton Prison in England on the 13th March last and to take a small Sloop from Portsmouth in the Night in which 32 of us landed safe at Cape Bellflour from whence we marched to Le Hague where we met with a French Gentlemen a Commissary who gave us a Pass a pair of Shoes & 10 Livres each to go as far as St. Maloes. When we arrived there 19 of us being not able to travell any farther they went on board a Privateer for a Months Cruize 5 got Passes and have gone to Nantes in order to make the best of their way to America & 8 of us came here for the like purpose wanting to get home as soon as Possible haveing been a long time prisoners some of us sent to England from the West Indies & some from New York. We arrived here the 25th: Ultio. & the American Agent not being here nor no Continental Ships we were Obliged to take Lodgeings for 11 Days before we could get a Vessell to go on Board off & the Capt. has it not in his power to give us any thing but our Victuals for our Work he haveing his Complement of hands already Shipped however he has promissed us a passage home but cannot give us any Money untill he Arrives in Philadelphia. And as there is no other Vessell in the Harbour Bound to America that will Sail this 3 or 4 Months and this Ship being almost Ready to sail we have thought it best to come on Board of her upon them Conditions.
        And as we are destitute of both Money and Clothes we have made bold to apply to your Excellency requesting (If you please) some Assistance that will enable us at least to satisfy the Gentleman who was so kind as to take us in and Board us for the above mentioned time. (his Name is John Dager)
        Two of us belong to Continental Ships Joshua Goss Midshipman belonging to the Boston Frigate was taken in one of her Prizes on the 8th: of July 1778 by the Porcupine Ship of War of 24 Guns and Carried to England where he has been a Prisoner ever since untill this present Escape.- The Other Eliphalet Rogers belonging to the Alliance Frigate was taken in one of her Prizes the 18th: Septr. 1779 and has likewise been a Prisoner in Forton Prison untill this present time. Therefore they would be extremely Obliged to your Excellency (if in your Power) to advance them a trifle of their Wages as their Necessities at present are very Pressing- Your Excellencie’s granting this our Humble Petition would be gratefully Acknowledged by your Excellencies Most Obdt. Humble Servts.
        Daniel Edwards Joshua Goss George Clark James Fuller Elipalet Rogers Robert Fulton Isaac Allen William James His Mark
p.s. There is two more prisoners arived here that wrote to your Excellency from Havre de Grace and two of their Companions that Escaped in the Cartell with the french are detained in the [Kian] at Brest who would be glad of your assistance in setting them at Liberty. their Names are Levi Younger & Bartholemew Cashwood

His Excellency Doctr. Franklin Esqr.
Addressed: His Excellency / Doctr. Franklin Esqr. / At / Paris.
Notation: [torn: Edwar]ds Daniel, [torn: Goss J]oshua, &c. L’ori-ent [torn] 1782.

I have not found a death record for Levi, but there was a newspaper notice in the Salem Gazette on 11 March 1806, page 4:

 "Notice is hereby given that the subscriber has been duly appointed administratix of the estate of Levi Younger of Gloucester, mariner, deceased, and has taken upon herself that by giving bends, as the law directs.  All persons having demands against the said estate, are requested to exhibit them for settlement- and those indebted to make payments to: Mary Carter, Admin'x
Gloucester, Feb. 4th, 1806."

Mary Wotten is my 5th great grandmother.  She married Levi Younger in 1784, and then when widowed she remarried to John Carter in 1801.  She is the Mary Carter named in this newpaper notice.  The court record for Levi Younger, mariner of Gloucester, intestate, first court date 9 Oct. 1806 (No. 30803). Essex County Probate.

I descend from Levi and Mary Younger's eldest son, Levi, Jr. (1786 - 1858), my 4th great grandfather.  Just like many other men from Gloucester, including his father, this Levi was also a mariner.  And coincidentally, he was also captured by the British during the War of 1812.  During this war many seamen were "impressed" by the British into the British Navy.  Those who refused to serve for the British when captured were thrown into prison.

I found the following letter in  "The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States" Thirteenth Congress, first and second sessions, May 24, 1813 to April 18, 1814 inclusive- compiled from authentic materials, Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1854, page 2267.  Again, I have transcribe Levi's name in bold letters.
E. Cooke to R. G. Beasley
Foreign Office, Oct. 19, 1812
"In Consequence of your letter to Lord Castlereagh of the 12th instant, I am directed by his Lordship to desire that you will furnish me with the names of the American sailors who have been so punished, and of the ship they are on board...Thomas W. Marshall, Peter Lazette, Edward Whittle Banks, and Levi Younger, on board the Royal William, gave themselvers up as prisoners and were in consequence thereof put into close confinement for eight days."

Levi, Jr. made his way home and appears in many certificates of protection as a mariner from Gloucester "light complexion".  These certificates were voucers for citizenship, and include identification such as place of birth, age, physical description, etc. They were to discourage impressment, but didn't work in Levi's case!  You can find the original certificates of protection at the National Archives.

Levi, Jr. married Catharine Plummer Jones of Boston in 1816.  I found this record in the Gloucester vital records, Boston Marriages, and in the newspaper Boston Daily Advertiser, 6 November 1816, page 2.  They are my 4th great grandparents.   Catharine had a famous sister, Mary Lambert Jones (1803 - 1828) who married Capt. John Dominis and removed to Honolulu, and became the mother-in-law to Queen Liliuokalani of the Kingdom of Hawaii.  Catharine had at least five children and died before the age of 30 in Boston.  Levi remarried two more times, and died in Boston in 1858. 

Their daughter, Mary Esther Younger, is mentioned in letters found in the Hawaii State Archives in the files of Queen Liliuokalani, written by her first cousin, the Queen's husband, Governor John Owen Dominis. When Mary Esther's mother died, she had been adopted by an aunt, the sister of Levi Younger, Mary Younger (1788 - 1873), who had married David Harris.  She was known as Esther Harris in some documents, but others listed her as Mary Esther Younger, which was a clue to this lineage, and to the connection to the Queen of the Kingdom of Hawaii.  

My YOUNGER genealogy:

Generation 1.  William Younger; married on 6 May 1750 in Gloucester, Massachusetts to Lucy Foster, daughter of Benjamin Foster and Susanna Andrews.  She was born 15 June 1723 in Gloucester.  Four children. 

Generation 2.   Levi Younger, born 7 February 1756 in Gloucester, died before 4 February 1806 in Gloucester; married on 17 July 1784 in Gloucester to Mary Wotten, daughter of John Wotton and Mary Hall.  She was born 15 August 1755 in Gloucester.  Five children.

Generation 3.  Levi Younger, born 1 May 1786 in Gloucester, died 8 December 1858 in Boston, Massachusetts; married first to Catherine Plummer Jones on 23 October 1816 in Gloucester.  She was the daughter of Owen Jones and Elizabeth Lambert, and the mother of five children.  Levi remarried second to Jane Unknown, and third to Margaret Unknown.  

Generation 4.  Mary Esther Younger, born 17 Feb 1826, probably in Boston, and died 7 January 1913 in Boston;  married on 11 August 1845 in Boston to George Emerson, son of Romanus Emerson and Jemima Wyman.  He was born 11 July 1817 in South Boston and died 11 January 1890 in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  Eight children.

Generation 5.  Mary Katharine Emerson m. George E. Batchelder
Generation 6.  Carrie Maude Batchelder m. Joseph Elmer Allen
Generation 7.  Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

Blog posts about this family:

The Last Will and Testament of Levi Younger:

An adoption in the 1800s

You can also click on the keywords YOUNGER, JONES, etc in the right hand column to pull up more stories about these families.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Surname Saturday ~ YOUNGER of Gloucester, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 17, 2016, (  accessed [access date]). 


  1. I've taken photos of YOUNGER gravestones in the Beverly Farms cemetery for FindAGrave. Likely another branch of this family.

    1. That is good to know. There are very few YOUNGER gravestones in Gloucester.