I’ve already touched on Frank’s beginnings in my post about his mother Lucy. To briefly recap, he was born either 1854 or 1856 in Maine (I lean toward 1854, based on his age of 5 in the 1860 Census). His mother was Lucy Ann Goodwin and his father was (supposedly) George Washington Colomy, who were married in 1858 and then separated in 1861.
The Colomy family had moved from Dover to Haverhill in 1861. As previously discussed, Frank did not show up on the 1865 Massachusetts Census with his mother and second husband, Benjamin Foss. I supposed that he went to live with his grandparents, Ivory and Jerusha Goodwin, based on the fact that Jerusha was living with Lucy and her family in 1870 in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts. This is a point where I need to depart briefly from Frank to introduce his uncle, John M. Goodwin.
John Goodwin was Lucy’s much younger brother, born in 1853 presumably in Berwick, York County, Maine. I imagine that, being so close in age, he and Frank became like brothers while Frank lived with him and his parents. John was only thirteen when his and Lucy’s father Ivory passed away in 1866, and I believe that he, Frank and Jerusha went to live with Lucy and Benjamin. On June 29, 1869, there is a record of John marrying Eliza O. Darling in Lynn, Massachusetts. Although only sixteen, he had stated that his age was eighteen on the marriage record. I don’t know the nature of their relationship, but the following year, the 1870 Census shows John living with his brother Charles in Lynn and Eliza back with her family and under her maiden name. (Interestingly, John’s occupation in this Census was a barber. I assume that Benjamin may have taught him this trade.)
Despite living apart, John and Frank continued to be close. They were both romantically involved with two sisters: John with Mary Roberts White and Frank with her younger widowed sister, Jennie (White) Williams. On October 11, 1875, both couples got married in Lynn, though not in a double wedding. The need to get married was urgent, for both Mary and Jennie were pregnant! The following year, Bertha Elizabeth Colomy (my great-grandmother) was born on March 26 to Frank and Jennie; Augusta Goodwin was born on April 20 to John and Mary. John and Mary had no more children, but Frank and Jennie had a son, Edwin Scott, on October 28, 1878.
For some unknown reason, Jennie alone is listed in the Lynn City Directory between 1878 and 1880. In fact, the 1880 Census (dated June 1) shows Mary living with her Jennie and the kids on 29 Church Street in Lynn. Probably because Mary was working in a shoe shop, Augusta was staying with her maternal grandparents, Job and Elizabeth White over on 5 Clinton Street. Where were Frank and John? To this day, I haven’t been able to find Frank in 1880. John, however, was in the Essex County Jail in nearby Salem since April 27 for drunkenness.
It wasn’t long before Frank returned to the family. On January 4, 1883, he and Jennie had a stillborn son who didn’t seem to be named. But the family stayed together, moving to various locations around Lynn. Frank worked as a shoemaker for the most part. In April 1891, he was one of the corporators of the “American Endowment Company”, which was formed for the purpose of “uniting all persons socially acceptable in the bonds of fraternity and give material aid to its members.”
John, on the other hand, did not seem to settle back down. I don’t know if he ever returned to Mary at any point. He eventually moved to Boston, continuing to be a barber. Old habits die hard and John’s drinking is what ended up killing him. On July 30, 1887, he died in Suffolk County Jail in Boston of alcoholism. His marital status was listed as “single”, so I’m not sure if he and Mary ended up divorcing, or if the city clerk simply did not have this information. Although the death register lists him as being buried in Lynn, John was ultimately buried at Pine Hill Cemetery in Dover, New Hampshire, with his parents. It appears that Mary and Augusta must have been living with her mother Elizabeth White, and the three remained together until Elizabeth’s death in 1901.
I’m sure that John’s death affected Frank, and his crumbled marriage affected Jennie. How did these things affect Frank and Jennie’s marriage? I can only guess, but Frank’s life has to pause here to begin his daughter Bertha’s incredible story.