Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Down the Rabbit Hole with Greenleaf Cilley Batchelder (1805 - 1855)

Exploring Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2012

This relative's name sent me down a rabbit hole, searching for more information on his name "Greenleaf" instead of researching his brother, my 4th great grandfather Jonathan Batchelder. 

Greenleaf Cilley Batchelder, the son of Nathaniel Batchelder and Mary Perkins, was born about 1805 in Chichester, New Hampshire.  He is my 5th great grand uncle, since I descend from his older brother Jonathan Batchelder.  Greenleaf married to Elizabeth Clesby on 20 November 1839 in Boston, Massachusetts.  He had three children, including his eldest, Captain Greenleaf Williams Batchelder, (1841 - 1888) who served in the Civil War.

What struck me as interesting was the name "Greenleaf".  I knew that Nathaniel Batchelder's grandfather (my 7th great grandfather) was Jonathan Longfellow.  But I couldn't find a Greenleaf in Nathaniel's family, nor in Mary Perkins' family.  Where did the name "Greenleaf" come from? 

After looking deeper into the family tree (at the names of the sons-in-law in several lineages) I found my answer.  Jonathan Longfellow had a daughter Mary (my 6th great grandmother), and also a daughter Sarah (AKA Sally) who married Revolutionary War General Joseph Cilley (1735 - 1799) of Nottingham, New Hampshire. Sally's grandmother was Elizabeth Greenleaf (1677 - 1724) who married Henry Clark of Newbury.  Sally and Joseph had a son named Major Greenleaf Cilley (1767 - 1808).  Another Greenleaf! 

According to the complied genealogy Batchelder, Batcheller Genealogy: Descendants of Rev. Stephen Bachiler by Frederick C. Pierce, 1898 "Greenleaf Cilley Batchelder...was the youngest of this family; left his home very early in life and came from New Hampshire to Boston.  He became interested in the lumber business, having contracts with the government to supply ship timber for the Charlestown Navy Yard.  At age 35 he thought he had enough money to retire upon, and invested it in real estate, mostly at the west end of Boston [note: across the Charles River from the Navy Yard in Charlestown].  He wa a man of dignity and strong character; his manners were those natural to good breeding.  He was fond of fine horses, and owned some of the best in the city.  At the age of 45, one of the horses ran away with him.  He was on his way to a farm which he owned in Roxbury (now a part of Boston) with his foreman.  They were both thrown from the carriage, and his skull was fractured, and after lingering several months, he died from the effect of this accident." 

Greenleaf Cilley Batchelder was buried in the very fine Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, contiguous to Boston.  He must have been a wealthy man.  I have requested a photograph of this tombstone through Find A Grave.  Let's see if that happens soon, or I will have to take a road trip to Cambridge! 

While I was searching the internet for more information about Greenleaf, I found an interesting newsclipping from the newspaper American Traveller, Boston, Massachusetts, Friday, Dec. 6, 1839, page 3 "Marriages... By Rev. Mr. Lothrup, Mr. Greenleaf C. Batchelder to Mrs. Elizabeth W. Davis". What?  Her death record lists her father as Bartholomew Clesby.  Where does the DAVIS come from?  Hmmmm...  another rabbit hole!  

For the truly curious:

Frederick C. Pierce, Batchelder, Batcheller Genealogy: Descendants of Rev. Stephen Bachiler, of England, A Leading Non-Conformist Who Settled in teh Town of Hampton, N.H., and Joseph, Henry, Joshua, and John Batcheller of Essex Co., Massachusetts.  Chicago, Illinois, 1898. 

My Surname Saturday blog post for BATCHELDER:   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/09/surname-saturday-new-batchelder-lineage.html  

My Surname Saturday blog post for LONGFELLOW:   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/11/surname-saturday-longfellow-of-newbury.html


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Greenleaf Cilley Batchelder (1805 - 1855)", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 28, 2023, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/03/down-rabbit-hole-with-greenleaf-cilley.html: accessed [access date].

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

My Top Ten Genea-Mysteries


I posted another blog post about my "Top Ten Genea-Mysteries" in 2014, and it is time for an update!  I'm hoping that by posting these brickwall stories, maybe someone can send me a clue or make a cousin connection.  Some of these mysteries have bothered me for 30 or more years! 

My Top Ten Brick Walls:

1.)  Who is Hannah Smith?  She married my 5th great grandfather, Stephen Cree, on 27 February 1787 in Holden, Massachusetts.  Stephen was born in Topsfield in 1760 and died there in 1821.  All five of their children were born in Topsfield.  Did they elope to be married in Holden, or was Hannah a resident of Holden? Who were her parents?  One clue is in the book Early Massachusetts Marriages Prior to 1800 Worcester County, Southborough, page 72 “Stephen Cree & Mrs. Hannah Smith February 27, 2787”  What is this reference to Southborough? Of course my top brickwall would be a SMITH!

2.) Who is the Mary Hovey who married Nathaniel Treadwell on 17 July 1786 in Ipswich, Massachusetts?  These are my 5th great grandparents.  This is a Mayflower lineage back to Isaac Allerton, but none of the paperwork ever submitted with this couple names her parents. I left it blank and my application was accepted.  I have no birth date for her or place of birth.  She had five children with Nathaniel Treadwell, and she died on 15 January 1832 in Ipswich.  Nathaniel was a Revolutionary War Patriot.  Both the DAR and the Mayflower Society have no information on Mary Hovey. 

3.)  What are the origins of Benjamin Gardner, born about 1720 probably in Boston, and died 7 June 1797 in Salem, Massachusetts?  This is my 6th great grandfather, and much has been written about him in Salem records, and in the diaries of Rev. William Bentley who mentioned his wives and his children, and his brother, but Benjamin still remains a mystery.  He was married twice, first to Sarah Randall on 10 October 1751 in Boston at the West Church.  They had three children, including my 5th great grandmother, Mary Gardner born in Boston.  Sarah died in 1781 in Salem, and he remarried to Mary Briers (widow  of Michael Ferguson and John Bassett) on 2 November 1782 in Salem.   Benjamin was a ropemaker in Salem, a partner to Josiah Gaines.  He had a brother, Thomas Gardner, who died on 22 September 1789 in Boston.

4.) Who is Nancy Thompson (about 1804 – 1847), my 4x great grandmother? She married Jonathan Batchelder on 11 February 1822 in Belmont, New Hampshire.  Her children’s marriage and death records say she was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire.  There are several Thompson families in Gilmanton and Belmont (contiguous towns) but no record of Nancy/Ann/Hannah Thompson.  Jonathan Batchelder died in the Concord State Assylum.   His wife, Nancy Batchelder, was granted guardianship of their children in 1847.  I recently found her 14 November 1884 death record in Sutton, New Hampshire under the name "Nancy Palmer".  How do I know it is my 4x great grandmother?  I recently found a court record where she lists her name as Nancy Palmer, but gives names of relatives in the Batchelder family, so I know this is her!  Unfortunately she doesn't give any testimony on her own side of the family. 

5.)  Related to Nancy Thompson, above:  I'd love to see the testimony Nancy Thompson Batchelder Palmer gave during the court case in Louisiana in 1866.  Does it survive? All I have are excerpts in books. I'm not familiar with records from outside of New England! 

6.)  Who is Elizabeth Lambert (about 1775 – 1834), my 5x great grandmother? She married Owen Jones, a native of Wales and son of a British customs officer, on 11 May 1793 at the Second Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts.  They lived in the North End, and had six daughters all described as debutantes and all married very well.  I was hoping she was from a well-connected, wealthy family in Boston who left lots of good records, but so far I cannot find her parents or lineage.  There were many Lambert/Lombard/Lumbard/Lamport families in Boston at this time, and I have searched them all for Elizabeth.   One clue-  Elizabeth had a sister, Sarah, who married John Darke/Dargue on 1 December 1793 in Boston.  Elizabeth (Lambert) Jones named her first daughter Sarah Dargue Jones in her honor.  The sister Sarah (Lambert) Dargue died on 3 September 1796.  No parents listed.  Another clue – Elizabeth Lambert was probably born at about the time of the siege of Boston during the American Revolution (many residents fled the city), so she may have been born elsewhere in New England.

7.) Who is Margaret Welch (about 1796 – 1860), my 4x great grandmother?  Her death record in Chichester, New Hampshire does not name her parents or place of birth.  She married Richard Locke on 21 October 1823 in Chichester.  Her children’s marriage and death records say she was born in Kittery, Maine.  Census records say she was born in Maine.  I haven't found her in vital records or in any compiled genealogy.

8.) Who is Thomas Jillings (died 1801 in Newbury), my 5x great grandfather?  He married Hannah Mirick on 18 November 1725 in Newbury and had seven children with her.  Hannah was born in Charlestown in 1702 and died in 1754 in New bury.  If he was born around the same time as her he would have been nearly 100 years old at the time of his death.  Jillings is an unusual name, but I can’t find his origins, parents or any ancestors.  Is Jillings a misspelling or corruption of some other surname?

9.)  I'd love to research my grandmother's roots in Leeds, Yorkshire, England.  Her name was Bertha Roberts (1891 - 1990). I have traced back to Samuel Roberts, my 4th great grandfather, father of John Roberts, named on his 1803 baptism record in Holbeck, Leeds, Yorkshire, England (no mother listed). I have no idea how to proceed further back on this family line from this side of the pond!  Roadtrip to the UK? 

10.) Who is my 4th great grandmother, Amelia wife of Capt. Thomas Lewis of Salem, Massachusetts.  She died on 22 April 1860 in Wayland, Massachusetts.  She was possibly born about 1790 maybe in Stoughton, Massachusetts?  She married three times.  She was married first to Capt. Lewis, and he died on 31 August 1824 and she had two posthumous babies (twins) born 26 June 1824 (one is my 3rd great grandfather Thomas Russell Lewis).  Then she married Thomas Johnson on 16 October 1827 in Salem.  She married third to John Adams on 11 June 1843 in Topsfield.  Both John and Amelia were listed as paupers at the poor farm in Wayland in the 1860 Federal Census mortality schedule (he died of "lung fever" and she died of "paralysis").  What is her maiden name? Parents and family?  

For the truly curious:

Click here for a previous post from 2014 of my Top Ten Brickwall mysteries: 

Click here for a previous post from 2012 of my Top Ten Brickwall Problem Ancestors:


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My Top Ten Genea-Mysteries", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 21, 2023, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/03/my-top-ten-genea-mysteries.html: accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Samuel Roberts, buried 1881, Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom - Tombstone Tuesday

 It's Tombstone Tuesday! Today's tombstone was photographed by Laura Cleaver for the Find A Grave website, at the Leeds General Cemetery in Leeds, Yorkshire England. 


I was surprised to find my 2nd great grandfather's gravestone on the Find A Grave website, and it is the first overseas tombstone I have found.  Samuel Roberts, the son of John Roberts and Hannah Westerman, was born about 1829 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England.  He married Mary Anne Stott on 21 March 1853 in Leeds.  She was the daughter of James Stott and Sarah Heseltine, born 29 October 1831 in Leeds and died in March 1912 in Settle, Yorkshire.  Samuel and Mary Anne had ten children, three went to the United States including my great grandfather John Peter Bawden Roberts (1865 - 1925) who immigrated to Beverly, Massachusetts in 1915 via Ellis Island.

Samuel raised his family in the slums of Yorkshire. He worked as a laborer in factories, and according to several census records he was described as an "engine man" or "engineer".  This means he operated machinery in the factory.  He lived in the Woodhouse section of Leeds, in 1871 his residence was 25 Woodhouse Street, and in 1881 his residence was 17 Rhodes Buildings.   His death record lists his occupation as "engine tender".  

Samuel died on 3 July 1881 (according to the death record) and was buried on July 6th.  His gravestone lists the death on July 4th.  The informant was his son Arthur.  There are 14 people listed on the gravestone, all unrelated (I checked).  That seemed strange to me, so I did some investigating online.  What I found was surprising to me as an American, but not so strange to Europeans.   

Leeds in the 19th and early 20th century was a factory town.  The slums were horrific.  I have an oral history recorded on a cassette tape, and narrated by my grandmother, Bertha Roberts (1897 - 1990).  Her stories reminded me of books like Angela's Ashes, by Frank McCourt. The city was overcrowded with laborers and their families. The cemeteries were overcrowded, too.  

Samuel was buried in a "guinea grave" at the Leeds General Cemetery, also known as Woodhouse Cemetery or Woodhouse Lane Cemetery.   A guinea grave was a grave for 12 - 20 people, and the family paid one "guinea" for this priviledge.  According to a Facebook forum for "Leeds Family History" a guinea was 21 shillings or a little more than a pound in today's money.  Paupers would be buried in a common grave for free.  Thank goodness for these informal genealogy groups on Facebook!  Through this group I was referred to another group "Friends of Woodhouse Cemetery", where I learned more history of this burial ground.  Members of these groups gave me a great history of the guinea graves, and of the slums in the Woodhouse neighborhood. 

UPDATE:  After this blog post was published online on March 12, a woman named Yvonne Sutton and her sister Linda Goodwin read the post and then took more photos of Samuel's gravesite.  Scroll to the bottom to see what she posted on the "Friends of Woodhouse Cemetery" Facebook group!  

The sad thing about the Leeds General Cemetery is that it belongs to the University of Leeds, who removed almost all the gravestones to create a greenspace for their campus known as St. George's Field.  Most of the surrounding area known as Woodhouse is part of the university, too, and the addresses I have from census records for Samuel are now new university housing.  Originally there were over 80,000 burials in this cemetery, most without memorial stones in guinea graves. Very few stones are still there, and the chapel is still standing, so it is a miracle that this stone with Samuel Robert's name survives.

As an American we are not accustomed to the practice of cemeteries without "perpetual care".  I have seen in Spain that bodies are placed in rented niches for a few years, which are later cleaned out and then the niche is rented to another family.  In England the graves are not "perpetual" either, and especially paupers' graves or common graves such as these guinea graves.  

I have not visited the city of Leeds.  I'm hoping to someday see the church where the Roberts family worshipped (All Soul's Hook Memorial), the streets, and this cemetery.  I can find records of other family members in this cemetery, but this is the only one with a photograph of a surviving tombstone. 

This house stood on Rhodes Buildings where Samuel Roberts lived in Leeds, around the time of his death.  Thank you to the Leeds Libraries Leodis website  https://www.leodis.net/   

Updated photos, with kind permission from Yvonne Sutton and Linda Goodwin:

This photo and the maps below will help me to locate the gravesite. The gravestones were all moved, and many buried, to another location, to form the university parkland. 

For the truly curious:

"Friends of Woodhouse Cemetery" at Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1765932953450945  

Surname Saturday blog post for the ROBERTS family:   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2014/03/surname-saturday-roberts-of-leeds.html  

This link is part four of a transcription my grandmother's audio tape, describing her childhood in Leeds:   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/05/amanuensis-monday-berthas-audio-tape.html  


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Samuel Roberts, buried 1881, Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom - Tombstone Tuesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 14, 2023, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/03/samuel-roberts-buried-1881-leeds.html: accessed [access date].

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

A photo of Mary Munroe Sanderson (1748 - 1852) who witnessed the Battle of Lexington, Massachusetts

This is an amazing old photo of Mary Munroe Sanderson (1748 - 1852) from the collections of the Boston Public Library.  Thank you to my sister's friend, who shared a copy to her from Facebook (see the link below).  We all share Munroe ancestry!

Mary Munroe was born 10 October 1748 in Lexington, Massachusetts.  She married Samuel Sanderson of Woburn on 27 Ocotber 1772 and had six children.  On 23 September 1852 the women in Lexington had a fundraising party for Mary Munroe Sanderson, who was more than 100 years old and suffering from severe arthritis.  The party raised $300, and she died a month later, aged 104. She died on 15 October 1842 in East Lexington, and is buried at the Old Burying Ground.   Her epitaph reads:

Mary Munroe relict of Samuel Sanderson
Born in Lexington Oct 10, 1748
Died in East Lexington Oct 15, 1852
Age 104 years 5 days
A witness of the first revolutionary conflict, she recounted its trying scenes to the last. The vitality of her Christian faith was envinced by cheerfulness under severy bodily infirmity for more than twenty years.

Mary is the daughter of William Munroe and Rebecca Locke.  William Munroe is the brother of my 6th great grandfather, Andrew Munroe (1718 - 1766).  These are the generations that lived through the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the American Revolutionary War.  The Sanderson House still stands next to the Munroe Tavern in Lexington, Massachusetts.  

Mary's husband, Corporal Samuel Sanderson [from the Hudson History of Lexington, Volume II Genealogies]: He was sergeant in a detachment from Lexington militia company commanded by Capt. John Bridge, service 5 days; detachment reported on command at Cambridge from 11 May to 15 May 1775, by order of Committee of Safety; also corporal, pay-roll of a detachment from Lexington militia company commanded by Capt. John Parker, service 2 days; detachment reported on command at Cambridge from 17 June to 18 June 1775, by order of Committee of Safety; also private, Capt. John Briges company, Col. Eleazer Brook’s regiment, service from 4 March to 8 March 1776, 5 days; company stationed in Roxbury.

From Canavan Papers Vol I:  To the east of Munroe Tavern is the Sanderson place, in 1775 this long low house was occupied by Samuel Sanderson and his wife Mary Munroe Sanderson, to whom he was married in 1772. With them was his brother Elijah. These two Sandersons were cabinetmakers. At a later period Elijah lived in Salem and from time to time sent venture of cabinet to France and Spain where they sold well, for the old New England joiner was an artist and made all kinds of woodwork from Pine coffins to the most beautiful desks and sideboards.

(Mary) …She was the daughter of one of the Munroe’s in that part of Lexington known as Scotland, and was born in 1748. She married Sanderson in 1772, he worked at his trade as a “Jiner” in the basement of the house, and his wife often held a candle as he made a coffin. When he heard that the British were coming he piloted his wife over to her father’s carrying his babe, and accompanied by a little girl who was at their house. Over at Scotland they found the mother getting breakfast and the brothers at first did not believe the report. After the British retreated Mary returned home and found a good many things had been stolen. Her cow (which was a good part of her marriage portion) had been killed; and a wounded British soldier was stowed away in her bed. She cried out “ I wont hae him there. Why didn’t you knock him on the head?” But the town authorities insisted he be taken care of. Those who lived on that part of Lexington called Scotland had a little of the Scottish accent and Mrs. Sanderson kept it all her life. The soldier begged for Tea but she refused. “what for should I gae him tae for? He shall hae none.” The wounded man refused to eat or drink unless the food was tasted by some of the family.

The Sandersons moved to Lancaster in 1776 but after her husbands death she returned ot Lexington and died there in 1852 at the age of 104.

I don't know the year this photo was taken, but she looks like she was very elderly at the time.  

For the truly curious:

The Facebook link with the photo of Mary Munroe Sanderson:   https://www.facebook.com/HistoricPhotographs/posts/pfbid031uXGDheW6iDLa5tvAN1ZT1xg5PxffwdrF7bpyfrkcKHq3wgK8Xk8iEfqQt1QFPhxl   

The Sanderson House:   https://www.lexingtonma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/3514/Area-AD---Sanderson-House---Munroe-Tavern  

This sketch of Mrs. Mary Sanderson is from the Locke Family Association website:  www.lockegenealogy.org  It is from the book Book of the Lockes: A genealocial and historical record of the descendants of William Locke, of Woburn, Massachusetts, by John Goodwin Locke.  


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "A photo of Mary Munroe Sanderson (1748 - 1852) who witnessed the Battle of Lexington, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 7, 2023, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/03/a-photo-of-mary-munroe-sanderson-1748.html: accessed [access date]).