Before I can even get to my great-grandmother Bertha’s story, I think it’s important to understand her own family history. A good place to start is her paternal grandmother, Lucy Ann Goodwin.
Lucy was born circa 1833, in Berwick, York County, Maine to Ivory Goodwin and Jerusha Taunt. She was the fourth child of eight children and the third daughter. Her older siblings were Ivory H., Anna, Mary F. and her younger siblings were John Adams, Ada Jane (“Jennie”), Charles W., and John M.
In November 1854 (some less reliable records say 1856), she gave birth to a son, Frank L. Frank always listed his father as George W. Colomy, who pledged to marry Lucy in December 1857. George and Lucy were finally wed in Somersworth, Strafford County, New Hampshire in 1858, by Rev. F.S. Greenwood. Whether George was actually Frank’s father or whether Lucy simply told Frank that George was his father, I do not know; but Colomy was the surname Frank went by.
1860 found George, Lucy and Frank living in Dover, Strafford County, New Hampshire. George worked as a shoemaker.
In March of 1861, the Colomy family moved to Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts. Lucy was quick to become familiar with the men of Haverhill, particularly seventeen-year-old Benjamin Foss. That September, George caught Lucy “in the act” with Benjamin and promptly left her.
Perhaps waiting until Benjamin turned 21, Lucy became Mrs. Foss on February 27, 1865 in Lawrence, Essex County, Massachusetts, wed by a Methodist clergyman, Rev. George L. Dearborn. According to the August 1865 state census, Lucy and Benjamin, now a local barber, lived with his parents and brothers in Haverhill. I have to wonder how Lucy was received by her in-laws, since they must have known she was married before.
In any case, Frank was not present with his mother on this census. Where was he? I believe the 1870 Census gives the clue: Benjamin and Lucy had their own household in Lynn, Massachusetts, in which Frank was listed (under the last name “Foss”), along with Lucy’s mother, Jerusha Goodwin. I am certain that Frank spent a portion of the 1860s with his maternal grandparents. Perhaps after his grandfather Ivory died in 1866, both Frank and Jerusha went to live with Lucy and Benjamin.
But let’s back up two years. In July of 1868, the Boston Advertiser carried a legal notice, posted by George W. Colomy’s attorney, J.C. Sanborn. The notice contained the sordid details of their marriage, the fact that George (now living in Boston) was seeking to file for divorce, and requested that Lucy respond to the notice. It doesn’t seem that Lucy ever responded; after all, she was already re-married! The divorce was granted in December of that year.
Lucy’s marriage to Benjamin lasted longer than to George; however, this one ended in Benjamin’s death. On December 19, 1874, Benjamin died of “fits” in Bradford, Essex County, Massachusetts. How these fits came about, I do not know, nor do I know where he was buried. He seems to have had no children with Lucy. Once he died, Lucy and Frank carried on in their home in Lynn on the corner of Chestnut and Lewis Streets.
Lucy carried out the proper mourning period of a year, then on New Year’s Day, 1876, she married shoemaker William F. Mann by clergyman S.F. Upham in Lynn. It was William’s second marriage, and Lucy reported this as her second marriage as well. The two appeared to get along well; he continuing as a shoemaker and she as a dressmaker. They even made it to their twenty-fifth anniversary! Then on June 23, 1901, William died of “hypertrophy of [the] heart.” According to the death register, he is buried somewhere in Lynn.
After William’s death, Lucy appeared to live with son Frank. I assume that her health and mind deteriorated greatly toward the end of her life, for she was put into Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, Essex County, Massachusetts on June 30, 1919. This hospital was well known for its care of the insane; however it did also care for older patients with dementia, which may have been Lucy’s case. Just shy of one year later, Lucy passed away on June 11, 1920 of arteriosclerosis at the reported age of 87. The longest living member of her family, she was buried at Pine Hill Cemetery in Dover, Strafford County, New Hampshire, where her parents and other family members are interred.
There are a lot of things to think and say about Lucy. I’m not sure what in her home life made her make the decisions that she did. It seems to me that she settled down in her later years; however, the seeds were sown, particularly in her son Frank.