Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Exploring Tewksbury, Massachusetts Old Center Burial Ground

I was reading a manuscript by Jan Koso of the MACE family genealogy, and delighted to learn that a branch of the Mace family left the Isles of Shoals and relocated to Tewksbury, Massachusetts.  My daughter married a young man from Tewksbury, and they now live there.

According to the Find A Grave website some members of the Mace family were buried at the Old Center Burial Ground in Tewksbury.  I knew that my daughter lived two houses away from a cemetery, and after consulting some maps I found the Old Center Burial Ground across the street from the larger cemetery. I waited until the spring weather arrived to check it out.  Early spring is a lovely time to explore cemeteries - before the poison ivy appears, before the snakes come out to bask, no autumn leaves obscuring the ground, and before the grass grows too long to hide the ticks. 

I brought my granddaughter along to explore with me.  She had walked through the larger, newer cemetery to walk her dogs with her Dad, but had never explored the tombstones.  We discussed the fact that some "old" family members were buried there (which brought up a lot of questions in her five year old mind), and she told me she could help find the gravestones because she knew the letter "M".  We were off to a good start!

We discussed the names on the stones we found, and the engravings.  My granddaughter was particularly interested in the engravings. We discussed the soul's head effigies (they looked like the skull heads in the Disney "Coco" movie), the weeping willows, and the portraits inside the little coffin shapes on these New England gravestones dating from the 1700s to the early 1800s.  It was difficult to read some of the inscriptions, especially for a 5 year old, so the next time we go cemetery exploring we will try the burial ground across the street which dates from the 1800s to today (burials are still taking place there).  The inscriptions will be easier to read.

A neighbor to this cemetery saw us exploring, and he kept his "social distance" by shouting to us about the Thomas Marshall buried in the corner of the cemetery with his three wives.  Of course we just had to run over and check out this interesting little plot!  My granddaughter was fascinated with the idea of someone having THREE wives!  We found that the tombstones for Mary and Phebe were labeled "2d wife of Mr. Thomas Marshall" and "3d wife of Mr. Thomas Marshall" but we never found wife #1.  My granddaughter thought maybe wife #1 ran away!  We'll have to look into this family history!

Memento mori
In Memory of
Mrs. Mary Marshall
2d wife of Mr.
Thomas Marshall
who died July
7th 1770
. In
the 47th year 
of her age.

I asked my granddaughter what was her favorite part of exploring the cemetery that day.  She said she loved all of it, but her favorite tombstone at the burial ground was the only one with flowers.  We thought that someone must have loved that one special person very much to have planted flowers (crocus bulbs) that lasted almost 200 years later.  She also said that the broken tombstones made her sad, because no one could read them anymore.  Although this is a very old burial ground, we only saw two broken tombstones.  

And we found the Mace family, too, after all this exploring. 


To Cite/Link to this post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Exploring Tewksbury, Massachusetts Old Center Burial Ground", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 27, 2021, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2021/04/exploring-tewksbury-massachusetts-old.html: accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Mace Family, Tewksbury, Massachusetts - Tombstone Tuesday

 These tombstones were photographed at the Old Center Burial Ground in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

memory of three
Children of Mr. Benjn &
Mrs. Rebekah Mace
Jonathan Feb 1802
AEt. 20.  Joel died Jan. 7, 1816
AEt.   Eli died Feb. 12, 1820
AEt. 29

In memory of
who died
Nov. 30, 1828
AET. 82.

In memory of
widow of Mr.
Benjamin Mace,
who died 
March 31, 1829
AEt. 70. 

Benjamin Mace, the son of Daniel Mace, was born in Newbury, Massachusetts on 26 November 1746 and died in Tewksbury on 30 November 1828.  He married Rebecca French in Tewksbury on 22 April 1777.  She was the daughter of Jonathan French and Rebecca Gray, and she died 31 March1829. They had eight children all born in Tewksbury:

1. Rebecca, born 4 August 1777 and died in Tewksbury 1 October 1843
2. Benjamin, born 12 September 1779, and died at Lexington, Indiana on 12 August 1826. He married first to Mary Jones Hardy about 1804 in Brentwood, New Hampshire, daughter of Peter Hardy and Dorcas Jones. He married second to Mary Ross of Lexington, Indiana on 7 November 1823 or 1824. 
3. Jonathan, born 9 March 1782, died in Tewksbury 23 February 1802
4. Ira, born 11 June 1784, and died in Sandown, New Hampshire after April 1843.  He married Sally Fellows on 14 January 1813 in Hampstead, New Hampshire. 
5. Isaac, born 11 June 1784 and removed to Perry, New York with his wife Adella Unknown. 
6. Judith, born 2 October 1788, married in Tewksbury to John Carter, died in Tewksbury 6 January 1861
7. Eli, born 25 February 1791, died 3 February 1820, served in the Revolutionary War
8. Hannah, born 11 June 1793, married Deacon Josiah Kittredge 29 December 1812, died 9 May 1828 at Amherst, New Hampshire. 
9. Abigail, born 6 April 1796, married Stephen Hill in Billerica, Massachusetts May 1816, and died there 18 January 1829.
10. Abraham, born 1 September 1798.  He married first Betsy Johnson of Tewksbury about 1823 (intention filed in Tewksbury on 27 September 1823). He married second to Mary Johnson, intention filed in Tewksbury 30 October 1830.  He married third about 1860 to Harriet N. Gage, daughter of John Gage and Dorcus Merrill.  
11. Joel, born 1 December 1800, died in Tewksbury on 7 January 1816.

Thank you to Jan Koso for his manuscript on the Mace family for this information. According to his manuscript, Benjamin Mace is my half first cousin, 8 generations removed.  We both descend from Robert Mace (1652 - 1732/3), an early settler on the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire. Robert Mace had two wives, and I descend from his second wife, Hannah Gibbons, and Benjamin descends from the first un-named wife. 


To Cite/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Mace Family, Tewksbury, Massachusetts - Tombstone Tuesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 20, 2021, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2021/04/mace-family-tewksbury-massachusetts.html: accessed [access date]). 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Patriot's Day

Patriot’s Day, 19 April 1775

The Lexington Minute Man Statue
Photographed on 19 April 2000 - The 225th Anniversary of the Battle

“On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year”
                                From The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The year 1975 is one I always remember because it was the year I decided to trace my family tree.  I was only thirteen years old, and I lived in Massachusetts.  It was the prelude to the nation’s Bicentennial celebration, and in 1975 Lexington and Concord celebrated the 200th anniversary.  There were re-enactments going on all around me that year, including the Knox Trail, Evacuation Day, Bunker Hill, etc.  One of the first discoveries I made while tracing my family tree was to find my MUNROE ancestors who were at the Battle of Lexington.

On 19 April 2000 we took our daughter to see the 225th Anniversary of the Battle of Lexington re-enactment, which involved getting to the Lexington Green at o’dark hundred to get a good spot right by the ropes which marked off the battlefield.  The battle begins every year at dawn.  It was a very odd feeling to watch your family members being shot and killed at a battle re-enactment.  You can read about that experience at this link… 

Did you know that 2025 will mark the 250th anniversary of this famous battle?  Plans are already underway to commemorate this event.  The website Revolution 250 has been set up for this anniversary https://revolution250.org/  

Here are some old images from our family slides that I digitized, showing our visit to the 225th anniversary re-enactment in Lexington.  The quality is poor, but it brings back memories of that event…

Originally the eight men who were killed at the Battle of Lexington were secretly buried,
later they were re-interred on the Battle Green under this obelisk.
I always bring flowers for this spot, because two 5th great grand uncles are buried here,
Robert Munroe (1712 - 1775) and Jonas Parker (1722 - 1775) (married to Lucy Munroe).
 These two uncles were also the first two men to fall at the Battle of Lexington,
also veterans of the French and Indian War. 


To Cite/Link to this post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Patriot's Day", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 19, 2021, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2021/04/patriots-day.html: accessed [access date]). 

Monday, April 12, 2021

General John Stark Day, 12 April 2021


Stark Day ceremonies at the Stark family gravesite
at Stark Park in Manchester, New Hampshire 2016

John Stark Day, honoring our beloved New Hampshire Revolutionary War hero, was celebrated formerly on the fourth Monday in April by state statute.  However, in 2017 the students at the Founders Academy Public Charter School in Manchester lobbied for changing John Stark Day to be held on the second Monday in April, a school day instead of in the middle of school vacation.  New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed bill HB91 into law on 13 April 2017.  According to the new statute “The governor shall annually proclaim the second Monday in April as General John Stark Day in Commemoration of General Stark’s gallant and illustrious service to New Hampshire and his country.  Schools are encouraged to commemorate the day with appropriate educational activities.”  [See statute 4:13-1 General John Stark Day  http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/i/4/4-13-l.htm ]  

Manchester traditionally honors General John Stark with a ceremony at the Stark Park, usually performed in Revolutionary era garb by DAR and SAR members, and then the group moves on to Dunbarton to gather at the Caleb Stark statue (son of General Stark) for a second ceremony.   I’ve tried to be at as many of these ceremonies as possible since moving to Manchester in 2014.  Last year, there was no ceremony, and this year there will be a “virtual ceremony” hosted by the Founders Academy (see the link below).

John Stark was born in Londonderry (now Derry) to his parents Archibald Stark and Eleanor Nichols.  Archibald was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1697, and grew up in Londonderry, Northern Ireland with his family.  He married Eleanor, whose father was also Scottish.  They came to Nutfield, New Hampshire (now Londonderry, Derry and Windham) and their children died on the voyage, which was plagued with small pox.  More children were born in New Hampshire, and they eventually settled in Derryfield, which is now the city of Manchester.  Three Stark brothers – William, John, and Archibald all served under the British during the French and Indian War.

John Stark was born on 28 August 1728, and married Elizabeth “Molly” Page on 20 August 1758 in Dunbarton, New Hampshire.  They had eleven children.  He lived 94 years and died on 8 May 1822 in Derryfield (Manchester). 

Major Caleb Stark (son of General Stark)
statue in Dunbarton, New Hampshire

For the truly curious:

John Stark Day information from the Founders Academy:  http://www.thefoundersacademy.org/giving/john_stark_day 

From the Cow Hampshire blog “The Many Faces of General John Stark of Manchester, New Hampshire” by Janice Webster Brown: https://www.cowhampshireblog.com/2017/04/01/the-many-faces-of-general-john-stark-of-manchester-new-hampshire/

Click here to see the 2018 Proclamation by Gov. Sununu for John Stark Day:  http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/i/4/4-13-l.htm  

The website for Stark Park in Manchester, New Hampshire:   http://www.starkpark.com/ 

Other Nutfield Genealogy blog posts about General John Stark: 

The General John Stark House in Manchester, NH:  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-general-john-stark-house-manchester.html  

The Stark Family Plot:   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2015/04/tombstone-tuesday-stark-family-plot.html   

General John Stark (including more genealogy information):   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/06/general-john-stark-live-free-or-die.html   

The Stark Homestead Site:  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-stark-homestead-site-manchester-new.html  

Images of John Stark Day ceremonies 2016:   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2016/04/john-stark-day-manchester-new-hampshire.html  

Autumn Visit to Dunbarton, New Hampshire (the Caleb Stark statue and the Molly Stark House):   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2014/10/an-autumn-visit-to-dunbarton-new.html   


To Cite/Link to this post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "General John Stark Day, 12 April 2021", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 12, 2021 ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2021/04/general-john-stark-day-12-april-2021.html: accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Please Contribute to the Honor Roll Project for Memorial Day, May 31st, 2021

Rockport, Massachusetts

Please join me in the Honor Roll Project.  Volunteers are taking photos of war memorials and honor rolls, posting them on their blogs and websites, and transcribing the names of all the people listed.  These transcriptions make the names available for search engines, and the names will be available for people searching for family, ancestors and friends.  It is a good way to get out of the house into the fresh air after a year long "safe at home" quarantine during the pandemic. 

I started this project in 2010 with the photos of the Londonderry Civil War monument, and then followed with the other war monuments on the town common, Derry’s MacGregor Park and other local honor rolls.  Other bloggers and photographers were invited to participate.  We now have contributions from nearly all the United States, and from five other countries.  The email and comments I have read are truly inspiring, and it makes it well worth the effort to transcribe names when you read how family members found their fathers and grandfathers online, or how families searching their family trees find ancestors who served in the Civil War or World War I. 

"I never knew my ancestor was in the Civil War until I Googled his name and found it on your blog! Thanks so much for your project - Charles Chase" 13 Dec 2011

" Thank you! Aina Bernier- daughter of Ernest Albert Bernier, Jr." 27 Jan 2011

If you would like to participate this year, I will be posting a compilation post of all the participating volunteers on Monday, May 31st.  All contributions will be permanently available on the Honor Roll Project website at https://honorrollproject.weebly.com/    Every November for Veteran’s / Armistice Day I publicize this project for more volunteers and contributors, and again every May I publicize the project for Memorial Day . 

To participate, leave me a comment below or an email at vrojomit@gmail.com   All you need to do is photograph a local honor roll or war monument, and transcribe the names.  If you have a blog, post the story, photos and transcriptions and send me the permanent link for the Honor Roll Project.  If you don’t have a blog, I can post the photo and names for you and add it to the Honor Roll Project, giving you full credit for the photography and transcription.  Or contact your favorite genealogy blogger, and they would be happy to post your photo and transcription, too. 

This is a simple way of saying “Thank You” to all the veterans in our communities- past and present. 

The Honor Roll Project Page:  https://honorrollproject.weebly.com/

Friday, April 2, 2021

Happy Easter 2021!

 From our house to yours, Happy Easter!  

Happy Spring!  Happy Passover!  Felices Pascuas! Happy Vernal Equinox!  And Happy Vaccinations!

This photo dates around 1920, of my grandmother in Beverly, Massachusetts with some lambs.  "Me" is my grandmother, Gertrude Hitchings ( 1905 - 2001), with "Bea" her friend, and "Skeet" Gertrude's little sister Mildred (1909 - 1981).  "Bob" must be a friend, but he remains unidentified.

This photo dates from the same time period, maybe even the same day as the photo above.  It is my great grandmother, Etta (Hoogerzeil) Hitchings (1871 - 1941) with a spring lamb.  I love this photo, and I know it is one of my mother's favorite photos, too!

One hundred years later, in June 2020, here is my granddaughter, Isabella, feeding a bottle of milk to a baby goat at Friendly Farm in Dublin, New Hampshire.  It seems to be a tradition in our family. 

Isabella and a baby goat, June 2019


To Cite/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Happy Easter 2021!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 2, 2021, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2021/04/happy-easter-2021.html: accessed [access date]).