So Far Away:  “We have mourned for you as dead”

In 2015, I wrote about my furthest-flung relative, Edgar Douglas White, who immigrated to New Zealand from Nova Scotia.  Since this week’s #52Ancestors prompt is “So Far Away”, I thought I’d share something that one of Edgar’s descendants shared with me a few years ago:  a letter from my third great-grandfather Job R. White to Edgar.

Here are the images and transcription (spelling and punctuation errors not corrected):

Page 1 of Job’s letter. Author’s collection.

Page 2 of Job’s letter. Author’s Collection.

Lynn January 3 1869

Dier Edgar  I do not know whether I am writing to the living or the dead.  but you knowes – my dier son we are all well.  We have had no letter from you in nerely two years – and we have mourned for you as dead but still their is a ray of hope still sometimes in my mind so you are spared, so I thought I would make one more effort.  The last letter that I wrote came back to me.  I have been in Lynn about sick months  I am doing pretty well  I board with Fannie  She is married here well off.  Your mother and the famely will be here in the spring
Joseph lives in Glossester 30 miles from here – if you get this plese not fail to write
Direct your letters thus
Lynn, Mass United States of America
O Could it be possable for us all to met again before death parts us how happy we would be, but we are all in gods hands  he knowes best what to do.  I got letters from home last week stating that they were all well.
So you by Dier Edgar
Jobe R White to
Edgar D White his son
in piggen bay Canterbury
New Zeland
January 3 1869
Lynn

How hard it was back then to try to communicate with people on the other side of the world!  I really felt the desperation in Job’s writing.  The happy ending is the fact that this letter exists, showing that Edgar finally did receive it.  Who knows – perhaps he’d tried to write in the time that Job was writing for an answer and perhaps his correspondence got lost.  He obviously wrote back eventually, which is evident in the fact that the descendants continued (and still continue!) to communicate.

Close to Home: Guilford, Connecticut

For the first few years of my genealogical research, I was pretty sure that my New England ancestors were only in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  Then in 2013, I discovered my connection to John Scranton in Guilford, Connecticut.  I finally had an ancestor in the state where I lived!

After a few years of researching the Scrantons, I decided to do a genealogy road trip to Guilford in the summer of 2016.  Though I took lots of pictures and posted them on Facebook, I never wrote about the trip.  What better time than for this week’s #52Ancestors theme?

Since I was going with my husband, I was going to make sure it was an efficient trip with some couple time thrown in.  So we hopped on I-95 during one of the hottest days of the year and drove across the state to Guilford.

Some pre-research at the Guilford Library’s website turned up an early map of the town, including who lived where.  I wanted to stand on the land where John Scranton lived!  Fortunately, there was a Wal-Mart just off the exit and down the street from that land, so that’s where we parked before walking over.

John Scranton’s land, with a more modern house on it. Author’s collection.

Old colonial house across the street from John Scranton. Author’s collection.

Of course, John Scranton’s house is no longer there, but there was an old house across the street.  Its plaque said 1694, but some research shows it may have been built in 1645.  John would have seen it every day!

We soon found that Guilford was chock-full of beautiful old houses, so we looked at a few in the area that we were walking.  (Later on, I’d bought a book about the old houses around Guilford Green, not too far away.  I guess we’ll have to go back to really look at those!)

Our next stop was the Henry Whitfield House.  As I wrote here, Rev. Henry Whitfield led many of the first settlers of Guilford in 1639.  They soon built the stone house to start the settlement off.  Over the centuries, the house has been remodeled many times, so there is barely any of the original left.  However, the house is now a museum that reflects on Guilford’s history.  They also have a research room, but according to the worker there, it’s best to try the library first, as it has more extensive historical materials.

Statue of Henry Whitfield. Author’s collection.

Author’s collection.

Front of Whitfield house. Author’s collection.

Rear of Whitfield House. Author’s collection.

Some colonial kitchen gear at Whitfield house. Author’s collection.

At the rear of this fireplace is some of the original mortar of the house. Author’s collection.

After a lunch break at the nearby Lobster Pound, we made our last stop at West Cemetery, where my library research showed me that John Scranton’s grandson Samuel was buried.  As we combed the cemetery, we couldn’t find the gravestone.  What we did see was many older gravestones leaning up against small fences and other gravestones.  Although the cemetery opened in 1815, these stones were dated earlier than that.  I found out later that Guilford’s first cemetery was actually on its town green, and that many of the graves later were re-interred at surrounding cemeteries, including West.  Another reason for a re-visit; perhaps we could find Samuel’s headstone among these strays.

Samuel Scranton the 3rd, a descendant of my Samuel Scranton. Author’s collection.

One last reason for another visit:  near the Whitfield house is a traffic island that has a granite slab with the 1639 Guilford Covenant inscribed on it.  During our visit, I saw the 2014-dated slab but didn’t take a picture, since John Scranton’s name wasn’t on it.  Meanwhile, I’ve discovered two other ancestors who are on there:  John Bishop and Thomas Norton.  Now I want to photograph it and touch their names!

I loved this sign, that summed up this trip! Author’s collection.

Long Line: The Old Connecticut Path

I decided to do a slightly different take for this week’s #52Ancestors theme “Long Line” — I decided on a literal line! Well, kind of a meandering line: The Old Connecticut Path.

Milestone marker in Wayland, MA along the Old Connecticut Path. Courtesy Library of Congress.

As I studied my ancestors who passed through Windsor, Hartford County, CT, I wondered how they arrived there. These ancestors were:

  • Robert Bartlett
  • Thomas Ford
  • William Holton
  • Ephraim Huit
  • Eltweed Pomeroy
  • John Strong

At some point, the Old Connecticut Path came up in my research. Apparently it originally was a route that the natives traveled between the Boston area and what is now the Hartford area along the Connecticut River. Massachusetts colonists in the early-mid 1630s (such as Roger Ludlow, John Oldham and Rev. Thomas Hooker) soon began trekking along the path and founded the settlements of Windsor (first known as Dorchester), Wethersfield (first known as Watertown) and Hartford (first known as Newtown).

I could try to re-hash the history and route of the Old Connecticut Path, but Jason Newton has already done comprehensive work on his dedicated website, YouTube channel and Facebook page. I have only just begun to explore those resources myself! So click on these links and start exploring the Old Connecticut Path to see what your ancestors ma have seen and learn about their experiences!

Favorite Photo: Mistaken Identity

Week 2 of #52Ancestors focuses on “Favorite Photo”. My first problem is I don’t have a lot of family photos, and my second is that some may not be shareable for privacy reasons. Plus, how can I pick a favorite? What I can do is pick a photo with a little story behind it.

There is one photo I’ve shared on this blog before but have not given much of an explanation of:

Previously thought to be a picture of Bertha, the identified time points to it being Jennie. Courtesy Deb Thompson Colomy.

My third cousin sent me this picture not long after I began my genealogical journey. Among his mother’s genealogical things, he identified this as being a picture of Bertha Elizabeth Colomy. At the time, I though I could see a little of my grandfather (her son) in the eyebrows. Also, one of Edwin’s youngest grandsons had identified the picture as Bertha. The only mystery at the time was: when was the picture taken?

Eventually I heard of Maureen Taylor, aka The Photo Detective, who was an expert at determining when photos were taken based on hairstyle, clothing, etc. She was going to be at the first Genealogy Event in New York City in October 2012–here was my big chance to find out the date of the picture!

So I made my appointment and got my answer pretty quickly: Maureen said that the picture was taken around 1885. The only problem was: Bertha was only nine years old then; this could not have been her! I wondered if, maybe, this could be Bertha’s mother Jennie, born in 1856. Maureen thought that it was a possibility.

So that’s been my conclusion about this photo. After all, it’s possible that Bertha looked very much like her mother, and I saw that the grand-nephew that had identified her was born after Bertha had died; he would not have known what she looked like firsthand.

Fresh Start: Colonial Ancestors

This year, to make myself a bit more active on this blog, I plan to take part in Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors.  I don’t plan on holding myself to it strictly, since other things may come up, but I thought it might freshen my perspective somewhat.

So the first week’s prompt is “Fresh Start”, which stumped me at first.  After all, there are all sorts of ways to have a fresh start.  But during the past few months of my research, I’ve been drawn to my 1600s ancestors here in America, and I figured they are the epitome of the story of a fresh start.

With some of my ancestors, it’s easy to tell how and why they got a fresh start.  Nicholas Wallington was just a boy servant along for the ride when his master Stephen Kent immigrated to Massachusetts; his start was automatic.  Roger Williams, however, was a classic example of immigration for religious freedom, even though life in Boston and Salem weren’t free enough for him.  He made a great fresh start with the founding of Rhode Island.

With my other ancestors, however, their reasons to immigrate here are either lost to time or (hopefully) hidden away in some archive.  But history has taught us some of the common reasons to start over: economic opportunity, plenty of land available (let’s hear it for all those old Massachusetts land records!), as well as following their religious and personal convictions.  Not only did my ancestors find all this, but they began new towns, new churches and new families.  Some, like John Scranton, discovered new ways to clear land and farm.  Most probably discovered new foods to try and new ways to prepare the food.  Sadly, my ancestors living around in 1675 found a new enemy in the natives during King Philip’s War and following.

Though life in America provided my 1600s ancestors with a fresh start in their lives, that start laid the foundation for the generations that were to follow.  I am proud to count that as part of my heritage!

Puritans. Courtesy of US Library of Congress.

Here is a list of many of my other “Fresh Start” ancestors not mentioned above, with links for those I’ve written about:

Tenth Great-Grandparents: Job and Margaret (Dummer) Clement

In this post, I’ll climb up one more run of the Clement/Clements ladder to the first Job
Clement. Again, the following is to the best of my knowledge and what I could definitely
ascribe to him rather than his son.

Job was born 1616 in Leicester, England to Robert Clement and ___. He and his father
settled in Haverill, Massachusetts. He was a tanner and his tannery, as of February 27,
1644, was located at the mouth of Mill Brook. I don’t see this brook in Haverhill
anymore, but there is a Mill Brook Park and a Mill Street, so perhaps the tannery was
somewhere on that street.

On December 25, 1645, he and Margaret Dummer had the honor of being the first marriage in
Haverhill. Although we celebrate that day as Christmas today, Job and Margaret and their
community probably did not. Their son Job was born on April 17, 1648; there are online
trees that show two other children, but I have yet to research them.

Job Sr. soon became involved in town life. On January 30, 1647, he became Haverhill’s
first constable, and in 1651, he was appointed to “end small causes”.

Only eight years into their marriage, Margaret passed away in Haverhill in 1653. Perhaps
this may have sparked Job into moving to Dover, Norfolk County, Massachusetts (now
Strafford County, New Hampshire) by 1655. There he must have met his second wife Lydia,
who he married in 1657. I assume he was married to Lydia the longest, as I found that he
married one last time on July 16, 1673 to Joanna (Silsby) Leighton.

Finally, Job passed away on September 4, 1682 in Dover. Right now, I’m unaware of where
he or any of his wives are buried.

Honor Roll Project: Norwalk, CT – World War I (Part 7)

In recognition of those who have served our country in the military, Heather Wilkinson Rojo of the Nutfield Genealogy blog started the Honor Roll Project. It’s an opportunity to publicly document the names on military memorials around the world, thus making them easily searchable on the internet for people who are looking for them!

WWI Memorial on the Norwalk Green. Author’s collection.

This is a continuation of the names on the World War I memorial on the green in Norwalk, CT; Previous posts are as follows:

Below is the seventh panel and its transcription. (One of these names will be appearing in a very special Norwalk history post next year!)

World War I memorial, Norwalk. Author’s collection.

1917 – THE WORLD WAR – 1919

RADFAN WILLIAM R.F. ROSE GEORGE EDWARD SCHROEDER MORRIS SMITH DAVID STONE STEVEN E.
RAUCH HENRY C. ROSE HARRY F. SCHULTZ WILLIAM LYLE SMITH ELBERT J. STONE WILLIAM C.
RAYMOND ALFRED W. ROSE WALTER W. SCOFIELD FRANK E. SMITH FRANK STOOTS RALPH
RAYMOND ARTHUR B. ROSENFIELD ISAAC SCOFIELD FRANKLYN D. SMITH FREDERICK N. STOREY J. WALKER
RAYMOND DUDLEY E. ROSENTHAL HARRY SCOTT WILLIAM G. SMITH HARRY J. STRATTON EVERETT S.
RAYMOND EDGAR L. ROSS MICHAEL SCULLEY WILLIAM J. SMITH IRA S. STULL WILLIAM S.
RAYMOND FRED L. ROTH JOSEPH SEAMAN CHARLES H. SMITH PHILIP F. STURDEVANT E. WARD
RAYMOND HOMER E. ROWE FRANK E. SEE FRANK WILLIAM SMITH REGINALD S. STURDEVANT GEORGE W.
RAYMOND RICHARD p. ROWLAND EDWARD SELLECK GEORGE R. SMITH RUFUS SULLIVAN HARRY J.
READ EARNEST O. ROWLAND MILTON S. SELZER HARRY M. SMITH STEPHEN SULLIVAN WILLIAM J.
REARDON CHARLES H. RUCH EDWARD J. SEYMOUR ARTHUR N. SMITH THEODORE S. SUMMERS NORMAN D.
REARDON LOUIS B. RUFFIN CHARLES T. SEYMOUR HOWARD NATHAN SMITH WILLIAM C. JR. SUTTON GEORGE FRANCIS
REDLING CHARLES RUNDLE HAROLD B. SHAW NORMAN B. SNELL ELTON R. SVENSON JOHN A.
REDWAY WILLIAM W. RUSSELL GEORGE JAMES SHAY THOMAS R. SNIFFEN HARRY SVENSON WILLIAM B.
REED ELMER E. RUSSELL JOHN R. SHEA DANIEL SNIFFEN JOHN MILTON SWEENEY RICHARD W.
REED JOSEPH RUSSELL WALTER P. SHEA WILLIAM T. SNYDER JOHN C. SWIFT GEORGE LLOYD
REGAN WILLIAM F. RUSSO ANTHONY SHEEHAN CHRISTOPHER V. SOLTES ANDREW JOSEPH SWINT CHARLES W.
REID HAROLD L. RUSSO CHARLES SHEEHAN EDWARD E. SOYAK STEPHEN SZERSZEN STEPHEN
REILLEY JOEPH THOMAS RUST WILLIAM P. SHEEHAN JOHN J. JR. SPAHR MARTIN SZCZEPANIAK WACLAW J.
REINHARDT WILLIAM RUTA FREDERICK SHEEHAN WANTER J. SPENCE PHILIP SZILANSKIS CHARLES
RESTIVO JOHN RYAN EDWARD D. SHELTON ANDREW SPERRY HAROLD
REUTER JOSEPH J. RYAN EDWARD M. SHEPARD DONALD E. SPINETTA FRANK J.
RICCI AMATEO RYAN THOMAS W. SHERLOCK HENRY SPINO THOMAS E. T
RICCIO ANTHONY RALPH RYDER FRANK E. SHERMAN EDWARD R. SPLAN EDWARD J. TALMADGE EDWIN L.
RICCIO JOSEPH SHERMAN PALMER R. SPRAY ARTHUR TALMADGE STANLEY L.
RICCIO LUCIANO SHERWOOD ARTHUR HENRY SPRAY REUBEN TANNONE NICHOLAS J.
RICO JOHN S SHERWOOD JOSEPH SPRAY WALTER TARLOV HARRY
RIDER DAVID S. SABA GEORGE SHERWOOD PHILIP H. SPRINGER EUGENE H. TARLOV MANUEL
RIDER ERNEST WALTERS SAFRANEK JERRY SHERWOOD RAY H. STACK JULIUS TARLOV SAMUEL
RIDER SPENCER EDWARD SALONI SIMON S. SHRIVER GEORGE E. STAHL JOHN TAVELLO NICOLO
RILEY ARTHUR EUGENE SAMARIJA ROY WILCOX WILLARD R. STANCHI FREDERICK TATE ROBERT W.
RILEY ARTHUR FRANCIS SANDOR JAMES JOSEPH SILK JOHN F. STANCHI JOHN E. TAVLIN BARNEY
RILEYJOSEPH M. SARGENT CHARLES SISK JOHN P. STANISH JOSEPH J. TAVLIN HARRY
RILEY STANLEY JOSEPH SASSE EDWARD SISK MICHAEL F. STANNARD NORMAN E. TAYLOR ANDREW H.
RIORDAN THOMAS J. SAUNDERS OLIVER G. SISWICK JOHN JOSEPH STERN GEORGE E. TAYLOR BENJAMIN A.
ROBERT GEORGE H. SAVAGE EMERSON SITTS ALAN F. STERLING LE ROY TAYLOR DANIEL MCLANE
ROBERTS WALTER J. SAYRE ALVIN G. SJOSTRAND GUNNAR T. STEVENS CHARLES B. TAYLOR JAMES HAROLD
ROCUZZO RAFAELE SAYRE WALTER SKENE C. MALCOLM S. STEVENS FRANK R. TAYLOR KENNETH H.
ROLLINS GEORGE ALFRED SCHACHAT NATHAN SKIDMORE THOMAS STEVENS WILLIAM S. TAYLOR MORROW ALFRED
ROMANO JOSEPH J. SCHAEFER JOHN JR. SLEZAK FRANK J. STEWART JAMES A. TAYLOR PERCY A.
ROONEY FRANCIS J. SCHIER ABRAHAM G. SLOMAN JOSEPH H. ST. JOHN CHARLES K. TAYLOR ROGERS CLINTON
ROONEY JOHN EDWARD SCHMIDT HENRY G. SMITH ALVA J. STOLBA CHARLES J. TAYLOR STANLEY H.

“WE HONOR THOSE WHO DO US HONOR”