Family Treasures – You Never Know What You’re Going to Find!

After my recent success with a family Bible (see my Blog post about that here: http://wp.me/p4rqEE-n4) I thought I’d revisit some of the family heirlooms that have somehow ended up with me.

I found a treasure. Can you tell what it is?

File Jul 04, 6 01 02 PM

Here’s a hint:

Army Issued New Testament

William K. Millar was my Dad.

One more hint:

Bible - Roosevelt

Now you know what it is. The best part was the page that I found folded and tucked inside, which appears to have been ripped out of a magazine, (maybe Reader’s Digest?) probably given to him by his Mother (I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for her – sending her only son off to war):

Mother's Prayer found in New Testament

As my Dad would have said, “‘Nuff said.”

A Family Bible Mystery – Solved!

I have had in my possession for more than 20 years, a family bible with the name Hutchins inside the front cover. My 3x great grandfather Theodore Hutchings was born about 1789 according to census records, but the Theodore listed in the bible was born in 1890 – about one hundred years later. I had put the bible away, thinking it was worth preserving but that I wasn’t sure how I connected to the family.

Bible 2

Recently, I have been working again on my 3x great grandfather Theodore Hutchings – I have been stuck on who his parents were – and recently found a fourth cousin on Ancestry who had information about his parents. When I asked about her source of the information, she told me that many years ago she had sat down with an elderly distant relative in Bucksport, Maine, who was considered an expert on the family. She was later able to verify the information she received that Theodore’s parents were Jeremiah Hutchings and Sarah Littlefield. I remembered the bible, carefully wrapped in tissue, tucked away in a drawer.  I dug out the bible and took another look. The leather-bound bible is in very sad condition – the pages are brittle and there is a strong odor of mildew. It has had some water damage.

The first pages of the bible are missing, so no publication date was obvious at first glance. Inside the front cover is inscribed “Sarah Hutchins of Old York.”  Hmmm…I know my Theodore was born in Old York.

Bible Cover scan Sarah

I gingerly flipped through the pages and came to the blank page where someone (probably Sarah?) had written the names and dates of birth of eight children. It was on the back side of the first page of the New Testament where I found a publication date for the bible of 1805! Ok, we have a date – the bible is 211 years old! I looked at the list of children again – here’s a rough transcription of how it was written:

“Stephen Hutchings was born in 29 May 1888, Theodore Hutchings was born in November 7 = 1890, Deborah Hutchings was born in February — 1892, –Hutchings was born in January 8 = 1893 [?], Edward Hutchings was born in January 27 = 1897, Prissilen was born in January 23 = 1801, Ebenezer was born in December 20 = 1803, Abgiel was born in January 13 1805.”

Scan of family - children of Jeremiah Hutchings and Sarah Littlefield

The bible was published in 1805. This page was probably written in 1805 or a little later. I researched these siblings and discovered that the first five children, listed as having been born in the late 1800’s were actually born in the late 1700’s. Their birth order makes it clear that whoever wrote this page (Sarah????), put 18__ instead of 17__ for the first five children. Of course they would be listed chronologically! And this is MY Theodore – born November 7, 1790! And the bible belonged to my 4x great grandmother, Sarah Littlefield Hutchings! Oh, Sarah, you had me fooled for a very long time.

Hannah Pettingell, Daughter of…???

The book,  A Pettingell Genealogy, written by John Mason Pettingell published in 1906, states Hannah is the daughter of Eliphalet Pettingell and Sarah Dill. Nope.

Hannah is my 4th great grandmother. She married Edward Hammond on 19 April 1796 in Sullivan, Hancock, Maine.

Born 15 Oct 1768 in North Yarmouth, Cumberland, Maine, she was not baptized until 10 November 1771. She was actually the daughter of Elisha Pettingell (brother of Eliphalet) and Rebekah Prince. Elisha and Rebekah had a habit of waiting (for the most part) at least a year after the birth of a child before having them baptized – a little unusual for the time:

Hannah, born 15 Oct 1768, baptized 10 Nov 1771

Jacob born 3 Jan 1771, baptized 12 Aug 1772

Jane (the second child of this name) born 5 Apr 1773, baptized 14 August 1774

Levi, born 7 Mar 1775, baptized 12 May 1776

Lucretia born 25 Jun 1778, baptized 16 Aug 1778

 

Birth of Hannah Pettingell microfilm 10812 arrowHannah’s gravestone reads: “Hannah, Wife of Edward Hammond, died June 13, 1862. AEt. 93 ys.” This is consistent with a birth date of 15 Oct 1768.

Gravestone of Hannah (Pettingill) Hammond

Note that the Pettingell Genealogy does not list birth dates, but baptism dates. No date of birth or baptism is given for the Hannah listed as a daughter of Eliphalet and husband to Edward Hammond. I have no doubt that Hannah who married Edward Hammond is the daughter of Elisha Pettingell and Rebekah Prince. John Mason Pettingell got it wrong – and so did 125 family trees on Ancestry.com.

Honor Roll Project – Vietnam

I am honored to participate, once again, in the Honor Roll Project remembering those who were lost to war.

This is the link to the Honor Roll Project:

http://honorrollproject.weebly.com/

This is the monument in Leominster for Vietnam veterans who died in Vietnam.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Here are the names:

George Edward O’Neill – 2LT US Army

Franklin George Hazzard – LCPL US Marine Corp

Byron Steven Johnson – SP4 US Army

Thomas Macmillan – LCPL US Marine Corp

David Allen Hill – PFC US Army

John Michael Hohman – CWO US Army

Wayne Robert Davis – SP4 US Army

Donald Raymond Duffy, Jr. – SGT US Army

Terrance Frederick Kane – SP4 US Army

Michael McCarthy Joslin – LTJG US Navy

Thank you for your sacrifice.

 

 

 

Solomon Higgins, Patriot and Why Sol’s Cliff was Named for Him

Sol’s Cliff in Bar Harbor on Mt. Desert Island in Maine was named for my 5x great grandfather, Solomon Higgins. Solomon was born in Eastham, Massachusetts in 1738. All ten of his children were born in Eastham, but by 1780 he had moved the family, with his second wife Esther, to Eden, Bar Harbor, Maine.

Prior to moving to Maine, Solomon served as a Captain in the Revolutionary War under Colonel Cary, serving for the town of Eastham.

Back to the original question: Why was Sol’s Cliff named for him?  Perhaps due to his illustrious career as an officer in the Revolutionary War? Sadly, no. Sol wandered off during a snow storm, suffering from dementia in his old age. He fell over the cliff below Cromwell Harbor into the sea. His body was never found and the area has since been called Sol’s Cliff. See the location here:

https://goo.gl/maps/JkTqgNC7Ku12

 

Ralph Nathan Pendleton, Hero (?)

My great uncle, my grandfather’s older brother, Ralph, once saved his mother’s life. I wrote about Ralph’s mother, Maria Mitchell Gerrish Pendleton in a previous post. Distracted by BSOs (bright shiny objects) as I was looking for an obituary/date of death for Ralph, I came across a number of newspaper articles about him. The first when he was only 14 years old! The title in the Boston Journal on 21 July 1904 found on GenealogyBank.com was “Lynn Boy Rescues Mother from Flames” with a byline of “Ralph Pendleton, 14 Years old, Dashes Through Fire and Smoke in Burning Building and Also Saves Girl From Death.” Could this be my great uncle? He was the right age and I knew that the family lived in Lynn at the time. The article gave the address of his mother (listed as Mrs. E.C. Pendleton in the article – it should actually have been Mrs. C.E. Pendleton) and I was able to confirm using city directories that this was MY Ralph Pendleton.

Here’s the story: Ralph’s Mother, Maria Pendleton had been outside talking to Mrs. Bee, a neighbor, when they heard another neighbor, Mrs. Hanlon, cry, “Oh, save my children.” Maria ran into the burning house and up the stairs with Mrs. Bee, son Ralph following close behind. Maria fell in the doorway of the children’s room with 6 year old Madeline Hanlon in her arms, overcome by the smoke. Ralph picked up the little girl and dragged his mother from the burning room, but could not take both of them down the stairs. He ran down the stairs, taking Madeline outside and returned for his mother. Firemen arrived shortly after Ralph’s second entrance into the burning building and assisted Ralph is bringing his mother down from the stair landing.

A little more about Ralph: Born in 1889 he married his first wife, Ruby Green on 21 January 1909 in Lynn. He was 19, she was 18 – a first marriage for both of them. In August of that year, Ruby gave birth prematurely to a boy, named Edward. He lived for 5 days – he is buried in an unmarked grave in Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn. By December of 1912 Ruby was filing for divorce from Ralph on the grounds of cruel and abusive punishment saying, “regardless of his marriage vows and obligations, on divers occasions has cruelly and abusively treated her and that being of sufficient ability, he grossly and wantonly and cruelly refuses and neglects to provide a suitable maintenance for her.” He most certainly was not a hero to Ruby. The case was dismissed in 1914 without a final divorce decree.

Ralph had a son in born in 1917 (who I remember meeting as a child – he was my mother’s cousin). Ralph married the boy’s mother, Bessie Gerrish, three years later in 1920. A little backwards based on the accepted practice at the time. Their marriage record says that it is the first marriage for both of them (!). Ralph’s first wife, Ruby was finally granted a divorce from him in Maine in 1921 on grounds of desertion – a year after he married his second wife!

I remember hearing whisperings from my father that a couple in the family was not actually married and had lived together pretending to be husband and wife. Everyone was surprised when they actually did get married – it had been assumed that their marriage had taken place before the birth of their son. For many years I didn’t know who these family members might be – but now I think I’ve found them. <GRIN>

Maria (Mitchell) (Gerrish) Tracy Pendleton – A Woman of Mystery and Tragedy

Maria Pendleton

Maria (Mitchell)(Gerrish) Tracy Pendleton

My great-grandmother (my maternal grandfather’s mother) has been somewhat of an enigma ever since I began researching my family’s history. The first record that I found of her was the 1870 census: she was 6 years old living in the home of Andrew and Flora Gerrish in Gouldsboro, Maine. Although this census doesn’t list relationships, it looked like a small nuclear family: father, mother, daughter. But, what’s this? She was born in Newfoundland? Well,  Andrew Gerrish was a Master Mariner who sailed the waters of the Atlantic Coast. Perhaps his wife traveled with him and happened to give birth in Newfoundland? As we will see later, nope.

At the age of 18 Maria married her next door neighbor, Walter Tracy, who was 3 years her senior. She had known him since she was 6 years old. But tragedy struck less than a year and a half later when Walter died of tuberculosis. She was a 20 year old widow. Her second marriage was to my great-grandfather, Colon Emery Pendleton on 16 May 1886. Colon came from a long line of sea captains, but his father, Joshua Archabus Pendleton, a sea captain on a Danish steamliner, had died at the age of 24, in Cuba, of yellow fever. His mother died of consumption 4 years later and Colon was raised by his grandparents. Colon became a painter and paper hanger, perhaps thinking that this was a safer occupation.

Maria gave birth to three boys: Arno in 1887, Ralph in 1890 and my grandfather, Clyde in 1891 – the only children who lived to adulthood. Her subsequent pregnancies and births became a series of tragedies. Alice Marion only lived for 7 months, an infant son (unnamed) lived for 2 days, daughter Flora lived for 2 days and finally there was another daughter who was stillborn. What caused so much infant mortality in this family? I may have found the answer. Colon died in 1915 at the age of 57 of lead poisoning, a victim of his profession. He probably suffered the effects of lead poisoning for many years before he succumbed. Lead poisoning can contribute to birth defects, creating abnormal sperm.

Alice Pendleton &amp; infant Pendleton stones

Colon had moved the surviving family to Lynn, Massachusetts by 1900. Colon and Maria had returned to Maine sometime before he died in 1915, as he died there and is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Winter Harbor alongside little Alice. You can see Alice’s headstone in the background in the photograph below.

Colon Pendleton headstone

By the time she was 52 years old, Maria had buried four children and two husbands. She returned to the home of her parents by 1920, perhaps staying to take care of them in their old age. Andrew was 82 and 77 year old Flora had suffered a stroke about 1918. By 1940 she had returned to Massachusetts where all three of her sons were living and raising families, showing up twice in the census living with her son Ralph in Worcester and also with her son Clyde (my grandfather) in Melrose. I don’t remember my mother ever speaking about her grandmother, Maria, even though Maria shared their home when my mother was 16 years old. Surely she would have remembered her.

Finally, who were Maria’s real parents? Maria is listed as the daughter of Andrew and Flora Gerrish in the 1880 and 1920 censuses and she lived with them in the 1870 census at the age of 6. However, on all of her children’s birth records her maiden name is listed as Mitchell, not Gerrish. Her place of birth is consistently listed as Bay of Islands, Newfoundland, Canada. The 1900 census lists her birth as August 1863. I found no Maria Mitchell born in Bay of Islands in August of 1863. However! I found Maria Mitchell, daughter of James Mitchell and MaryAnn Laing born in Petty Harbor, 26 August 1863.

Birth of Maria Mitchell

Shortly after her birth the family moved to Bay of Islands. Perhaps Maria (and her adoptive parents) didn’t know that she wasn’t born in Bay of Islands. Her birth parents, James and MaryAnn Mitchell continued to live in and raise a family in Bay of Islands, but Maria was adopted by Andrew Gerrish and his wife Flora, who had no other children. How did this adoption come about? I found no death record for her – she died some time after the 1940 census. Greenwood Cemetery tells me that she has a burial plot next to her husband, but it is not clear whether she was actually buried there. No headstone was erected there (although her three sons were each quite prosperous by that time). Maria continues to be an enigma.

 

 

 

Friday’s Faces From the Past – William L. Jones

William Jones 001

This tintype is identified as “William L. Jones, etc.” Thank you VERY much for THAT identification! Who ARE these people? I did a little research (okay – a lot of research). Tintypes were created between about 1855 and 1900, peaking in popularity between 1861 and 1871. William L. Jones was born in April 1836 in Weld, Maine to Jacob Jones and Almira Jenkins. He served in the Civil War enlisting in Company D, Massachusetts 22nd Infantry Regiment on 06 Sep 1861 and mustered out on 17 Oct 1864 at Boston, MA. William was married, for the first time at age 39, on 4 May 1875 to Sarah A. (Irving) Russell, a widow who was ten years his junior. It was her second marriage having married for the first time at age 20, but widowed by the time she was 28. It is perhaps her seated beside him in this photo. She died a little over 3 years after their marriage of tuberculosis, so neither of the young men pictured are his children. Sarah and her first husband had two children: a daughter named Addie who was born in January of 1867 and a son, Harry born about 1868. If the woman is Sarah, the latest this photo could have been taken is 1878 when she died. Her children from her first marriage would have been 10 and 11 years old. Neither of the younger people pictured match that age and gender. In 1880, 14 year old Addie lived with her stepfather. I have been able to rule out that Addie is the woman seated beside William Jones – I have several photographs of her as a younger woman – this woman is not her. Who are these people connected to William L. Jones? Disappointingly, we may never know. But don’t you just love the impish look on his face?

It does not appear that William Jones had any children of his own. However, there may be hope that there are relatives who would like to have the photo. William had siblings, in fact, quite a few siblings: George born about 1835, Cordelia born about 1840, Sarah born about 1841, Luther born about 1843, Charles born about 1845, Oren born about 1847, Ellen born about 1848, Jacob born about 1852 and Sophronia born about 1854. I am hoping that one of their descendants would like to have the photo.

Please contact me if you are a relative and would like to have the photo.

William Jones 002

The Winchester Sisters

Louise and Mary Winchester

I absolutely adore this carte de visite. The worried look on the little girls’ faces explains why they cling to each other. So sweet, sisterly love. Protective love. It appears that protective love continued throughout their lives. Read on.

I had a little trouble identifying them at first. To me the back read May Morton Winchester and Lois or Lorie Walker Winchester. It turns out May was often called Mary in records and her sister was Louise Walker Winchester. Both were born in Eastport, Maine to Andrew Morton Winchester and Louise Loud, Mary born 26 November 1869 and Louise born 30 August 1871.

Louise and Mary Winchester verso

It appears that the two sisters lived together all of their lives. Mary was the oldest of the three children who survived to adulthood, followed by Louise and Walter (there was a 4th child who died young). The family lived in Eastport, Maine in 1870, but by 1880 the family had moved 245 miles south to Portland, Maine. About 1892, Mary married J.Wesley Benner and she and her husband continued to live with her parents (and her sister Louise and brother Walter). By 1900 the family had once again moved south, this time to Boston. Note that by this time 26 year old son Walter, had become a dentist and 30 year old Mary was a healer/practitioner in the Christian Science Church, 28 year old Louise had no profession. The three children and Mary’s spouse continued to live with her parents, Andrew and Louise. By 1910, the children’s mother had died and Louise, age 38, and Walter, age 35, were both unmarried. Louise (a late bloomer) had now become a bookkeeper in a dentist office (perhaps her brother’s office?) Mary had been married for 18 years but had no children. By 1920, Mary was a widow, working as a librarian in a reading room (Christian Scientist). By 1930 the three siblings were still living together in the same house, their father Andrew had passed away. It appears that neither Louise nor Walter had ever married. And Mary had no children.

I am hoping that a cousin comes forward who would like to have the photograph.

 

Treat Yourself to a Gift That Will Last All Year (or More)!

Did your Aunt Millie give you cash or a cash gift card for Christmas? May I suggest that you check out these ideas to treat yourself:

Click below to check out a subscription to Find My Past. They have a fabulous, always expanding, collection of records – primarily UK based but you’ll find U.S. records there as well:

Find My Past



 

Learn something new that will last more than a year!  Click below to treat yourself to an expert webinar and expand your knowledge at ShopFamilyTree.com. While you’re there check out their HUGE selection of books and other goodies as well.

Expert Webinars

Newspapers can be a treasure trove of information to help add richness your family history. Click below to explore GenealogyBank.com:

Newspaper Archive

Expand your skill set with authors George Morgan and Drew Smith with their book:

Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques at a discount on Amazon!

You may have been considering purchasing an Ancestry DNA test kit for yourself or a family member. Click below to find it at a discount:

Ancestry DNA

My very best wishes for a Happy and Safe New Year. Here’s to more successful family history research in the coming year!