U-Turn: Fifth Great-Grandmother Anna (Capernaum) Taunt

This particular story begins at the end of Anna (Capernaum) Taunt’s life, because it raises many questions for me.

The end came on January 29, 1856 in Braintree, Norfolk County, MA. Anna died of old age as a pauper. Being a widow, this did not raise any flags for me; but the 1855 Massachusetts Census, taken just six months before, did. On July 13, 1855, Anna is listed separate from any family members and boarding with the Albert and Eliza Howard family with about a dozen other boarders. Albert’s occupation was listed as a “keeper of poor house”. The 1860 Census notes that this was an alms house that was supported by the town. (Thank you, meticulous census-taker!)

The question I ask is: why wasn’t Anna with any of her family? Her husband Seth died on April 7, 1837, so he was out of the picture. The 1840 Census showed her living next door to her son Seth and his family, but she was head of her own household and living alone.

I wondered how long Anna lived apart from her children, so I looked at the 1850 Census for each of her children:

Cynthia (Taunt) Savil had been widowed in 1846 and was living with her two surviving children in Braintree, being supported by her son Elisha, who worked as a bootmaker.

Seth Taunt lived next door to his sister with his wife and two youngest children. He also worked as a bootmaker.

Jerusha (Taunt) Goodwin lived in Berwick, York County, Maine with her own family, as she had since her 1824 marriage to Ivory.

William Taunt was living in Braintree with his young wife and month-old baby.

Anna was not in or very near any of these homes. In fact, I could not find her on the 1850 Census. Albert Howard did not yet run the alms house, so I wonder if there may have been another alms house where Anna could have boarded. It is possible that she may not have been living in Braintree, but I strongly doubt it, since she lived there since birth and all but one of her children lived there.

So I am left wondering why Anna did not spend her widowed years living with her children, as so many women of her generation did. Was she especially independent-minded, in spite of her poverty? Did her children not have sufficient means to support her (which is possible)? Or was she difficult to live with? Whatever the answer, there is a story here!

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Goodwins and Spencers Arrive in Colonial Maine

We’ve now come to the end of my Goodwin line – at least in America. I’m going to start with the Spencers, since they seem to have arrived first.

Thomas Spencer (who seemed to be from Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, England) had married Patience Chadbourne (of Tamworth, Staffordshire, England) around 1630 in England. I’m not sure when exactly they immigrated, but I do know that Patience’s father William came over in 1634 and proceeded in building a mill on the Piscataqua River. Perhaps Thomas and Patience arrived about the same time.

The Spencers settle in Kittery, Massachusetts Bay Colony, in the area now known as South Berwick, York County, Maine. William Chadbourne had given Thomas and Patience a house at the corner of Brattle and Vine Streets, the foundations of which supposedly are still there. Shortly after arriving the New World, Thoams and Patience had their daughter Margaret, who is one of about seven children.

Site of Thomas and Patience Spencer's land.  Perhaps the foundation is under this house?  Courtesy Google Earth.

Site of Thomas and Patience Spencer’s land. Perhaps the foundation is under this house? Courtesy Google Earth.

Meanwhile in Oxford, Staffordshire, England, Daniel Goodwin and Dorothy Barker had a son named Daniel, who would be the first of the Goodwins to immigrate to Kittery. Daniel was granted land by the town on December 16, 1652 and went on to become a planter and supposedly a surveyor and innkeeper. Over time he had acquired much land in the area, particularly at “Slutts Corner”, which is now in South Berwick along the southwestern portion of Witchtrot Road.

Site of Daniel Goodwin's land.  Courtesy Google Earth.

Site of Daniel Goodwin’s land. Courtesy Google Earth.

In 1654 (findagrave.com says as early as 1646), Daniel married Margaret Spencer and they went on to have the following children (not necessarily listed in order):

  • Daniel, born 1656 in Kittery; married Ann Thompson (daughter of Miles Thompson) on October 17, 1682; married Amy _____ before 1693; died April 1726 in Berwick; buried in Old Fields Cemetery in South Berwick.
  • James, married Sarah Thompson (daughter of Miles Thompson and sister of Ann) on December 9, 1686 in Kittery; died July 31, 1697 in Kittery.
  • Thomas, married Mehitable Plaisted circa 1685 (see more information on them here)
  • William, born in Kittery; married Deliverance Taylor (daughter of John and Martha Taylor); died March 26, 1714; buried in Old Fields Cemetery in South Berwick.
  • Moses, married Abigail Taylor ((daughter of John and Martha Taylor and sister of Deliverance) on September 7, 1694 in Kittery; died 1726.
  • Elizabeth, married Zachary Emery on December 19, 1686; married Phillip Hubbard on December 22, 1692; died December 16, 1736; buried in Old Fields Cemetery in South Berwick.
  • Sarah, married Isaac Barnes on December 6, 1694.
  • Patience, married Daniel Stone on September 19, 1670; died 1715.
  • David
  • Adam

Margaret died in March 1670 and was buried in Old Fields Cemetery. Some time later, Daniel married Sarah (Sanders) Turbet, widow of Peter Turbet.

On June 4, 1702, Daniel was one of the founding members of the First Parish Congregational Church in the Berwick area of Kittery (which is now South Berwick).

Daniel is thought to have died on March 16, 1713 in Berwick and is buried at Old Fields Cemetery.

Goodwins and Plaisteds: Colonial Maine Skirmishes

James Goodwin was lucky to be alive. He was fortunate to be born around 1711 in Berwick, Massachusetts Colony (now Maine), among the younger of Thomas Goodwin and Mehitable Plaisted’s children. He was blessed to find a wife in Margaret Wallingford, who was born circa 1716 in Dover, New Hampshire, to Thomas Wallingford and Margaret Clements. James and Margaret both lived good, long lives: James dying on May 10, 1800 and Margaret on February 20, 1803. Both lived to see the birth of their new country for which their son Jedidiah helped fight. What made James so lucky? It all began with the story of his parents, particularly his mother, Mehitable Plaisted.

Mehitable was born April 30, 1670 (old calendar) to Roger Plaisted and Olive Coleman. She was among the last of their many children. Roger and Olive, along with their firstborn, Roger, travelled from England around 1649, and settled in the Kittery area of the region of Maine (which eventually became Berwick). They soon became part of the growing colonial community. Where relations between the colonists and the local Waramaug natives started off on a friendly foot, things quickly deteriorated with misunderstandings and violence on both sides. Soon, what was known as “King Philip’s War” was underway, starting about June 1675 on many fronts throughout New England.

Mehitable was only five years old when her father and older brothers, Roger and Joseph, joined other area colonists in the military defense of their towns. Her father, Roger, was a lieutenant of the defense in the Kittery area. Early in the war, on October 16, 1675, Lieut. Plaisted and George Broughton sent a desperate plea to the surrounding communities for assistance as they saw their men being killed off by the natives. The Plaisted men became part of the casualties that very day.

from "King Philip's War" by George William Ellis & John Emery Morris; Grafton Press, New York; 1906; Google Books, 2007.

from “King Philip’s War” by George William Ellis & John Emery Morris; Grafton Press, New York; 1906; Google Books, 2007.

King Philip’s War lasted about three years until a peace treaty was signed. However the colonists were far from living peacefully with the natives. I’m sure the early communities in Maine were constantly vigilant against future troubles. In spite of that, life did go on. Olive Plaisted re-married to John Wincoll, who served as a stepfather to Roger’s children. Mehitable herself got married around 1685 to Thomas Goodwin, son of Daniel Goodwin and Margaret Spencer. They started their family with a baby boy.

When the baby was about five months old in the early winter months of 1690, the natives descended on the town; not to kill this time, but to capture. The entire family was taken, but Thomas was with a separate band of natives than his wife and child. Somehow, he was either released or managed to escape shortly thereafter. Mehitable and the baby were not as lucky. Their story is told dramatically in Cotton Mather’s Magnolia Christi Americana:

[The baby] which, through hunger and hardship, (she being unable to nourish it,) often made most grievous [cries]. Her Indian master told her, that if the child were not quiet he would soon dispose of it; which caused her to use all possible means that his Netop-ship might not be offended; and sometimes carry it from the fire out of his hearing, where she sat up to the waste [sic.] in snow and frost for several hours until it was lull’d asleep. She thus for several days preserved the life of her babe, until he saw cause to travel with his own cubs farther afield; and then, lest he should be retarded in his travel, he violently snatch’d the babe out of its mother’s arms, and before her face knock’d out its brains, and stript it of the few rags it had hitherto enjoy’d, and order’d her the task to go wash the bloody cloaths. Returning from this melancholy task, she found the infant hanging by the neck in a forked bough of a tree. Sho desired leave to lay it in the earth; but he said, “it was better as it was, for now the wild beasts would not come at it, … and she might have the comfort of seeing it again if ever they came that way. The journey now before then) was like to be very long, even as far as Canada, where his purpose was to make merchandise of his captive, and glad was the captive of such happy tidings. But the desperate length of the way, and want of food, and grief of mind wherewith she now encounter’d, caused her within a few days to faint under her difficulties. When at length she sat down for some repose, with many prayers and tears unto God for the salvation of her soul, she found herself unable to rise, until she espied her furious executioner coming towards her with fire in his eyes, the devil in his heart, and his hatchet in his hand, ready to bestow a mercy-stroak of death upon her. But then this miserable creature got on her knees, and with weeping, and wailing, and all expressions of agony and entreaty, prevailed on him to spare her life a little, and she did not question but God would enable her to “walk a little faster.” The merciless tyrant was prevail’d withal to spare her this time…

Mehitable and the other captives changed hands among several bands of natives along the journey and were ultimately sold to the French Canadians by about March 1690. (The histories I’ve read don’t say this, but yes, basically selling them as slaves.) Mehitable was put into service to a Mademoiselle de Nauguiere in Montreal. I suppose that escape wasn’t really an option; after all, she would need to go back through the native-filled country that she traversed to get to Montreal.

It seems that Mehitable must have made the best of her circumstances. On May 11, 1693, she was baptized into the Catholic Church with the name “Marie Esther”. More time passed, and it wasn’t until October 1695 when a Matthew Cary came to redeem Mehitable and a number of other captives in order to return them to their families. (I would love to know more about this man and the story behind his redeeming the captives!)

What I find incredible and wish I knew more about is Mehitable’s eventual return to her family. Where many captives assimilated to their new culture and some even refused to leave, Mehitable returned to the waiting Thomas and seemed to continue where they left off. The Goodwins re-built their family (which included my ancestor James), and had about nineteen more years together until Thomas’ death sometime after June 3, 1714.

Mehitable lived on much longer, passing away on June 2, 1740. In fact, her gravestone still stands in Old Fields Cemetery in South Berwick. She must have had amazing strength and resilience to have endured all that she did and to still have a normal and long life later on.

Sixth Great-Grandparents Jedediah Goodwin and Hannah Emery

Jedediah Goodwin and Hannah Emery were married on October 7, 1771 (I assume in Berwick). Starting from here and going back in the Goodwin and Emery lines, I have much less reliable information regarding vital statistics and information on all children, so I will let you know as much as I can.

Jedediah

Jedediah was born in Berwick, Massachusetts Colony (now Maine) on May 18, 1746, to James Goodwin and Margaret Wallingford. The most significant part of his life has been serving in the Revolutionary War. So far, the information I’ve found is scattered in many places. I think he deserves a comprehensive post on his service; that should come in the future, perhaps during one of the military-themed months.

Jedediah died on July 1, 1818, but I don’t know where he is buried (I assume somewhere in Berwick).

Hannah

Hannah was born in Berwick circa 1756 to Reverend Joshua Emery (although he was not a minister at that time) and Adah Tidey. Some sources say that she died on September 14, 1814, but I have yet to corroborate that.

Fifth Great-Grandparents Emery Goodwin and Mary “Polly” Hamilton

Emery Goodwin and Polly Hamilton got married on February 25, 1798 in Berwick, York County, Massachusetts (today’s Maine).

Emery

Emery was definitely born in December, on either the 21st or 27th, and I’ve found years between 1779 and 1782. He was born in Berwick, MA (now Maine), the son of Revolutionary War patriot Jedediah Goodwin and of Hannah Emery.

Polly

Mary (nicknamed “Polly”) seems to have born on August 5, 1783, Berwick, MA (now Maine); other sources show her birth in the late 1770’s. She was the daughter of Jonathan Hamilton and Mary _____. Jonathan Hamilton was a very prosperous merchant and importer who lived in Berwick. A fantastic summary of his life can be found here (be sure to click through the whole article!).

Hamilton House, where Polly Hamilton grew up.  Courtesy Wikipedia.

Hamilton House, where Polly Hamilton grew up. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Emery and Polly’s children were:

  • George W. Goodwin, born February 12, 1799; married Cyrena Hodgdon in 1824; died January 9, 1877; buried at the Portland Street Cemetery in South Berwick.
  • Fanny (Frances?) Goodwin, born January 24, 1800; married Samuel Guptail (sometimes Guptill) on August 11, 1822; died sometime after 1880.
  • Ivory Goodwin, born December 28, 1803; married Jerusha Taunt January 25, 1824 in Braintree, Norfolk County, MA; died February 19 1866 in Berwick; buried at Pine Hill Cemetery, Dover, Strafford County, NH
  • John W. Goodwin, said to be born July 15, 1804; however, that leaves less than a seven-month pregnancy, which is highly unlikely. Census records seem to indicate that he may have been born in 1805. Married Sarah Junkins on December 24, 1826 in South Berwick. Died sometime after 1860 (I haven’t researched him much).

One thing I’ve learned as I wrote this post is that there is a lot I don’t know about this family! For example, who exactly was Polly Hamilton’s mother? I had Mary Weymouth, but other sources indicate Mary Manning. I also need to find more census records for this family. There is much to add to my research “To Do” lists!

Dissecting Ivory Goodwin’s Probate Record

I could have included Ivory Goodwin’s probate details in my post about him and Jerusha, but I thought it would be a good idea to go through the exercise of analyzing the probate file itself. The file is fourteen pages long, and a number of those pages are undated envelopes to hold the other documents in the file. The pages appear to be out of chronological order, so I will try to review them in order.

As we know, Ivory passed away on February 19, 1866 in Berwick, York County, Maine. His survivors included his wife Jerusha, and their children Ivory H., Lucy Colomy Foss, Ada Jane Goldsmith, Charles W., and John M. (and perhaps Mary F., if alive). All the children were adults except for John, who was about 13.

The first document, dated February 23, 1866, appears to be Jerusha’s petition to have Ivory H., who was living in Dover, Strafford County, New Hampshire, be administrator of his father’s estate. The reason was “there being no son or daughter of age nearby in this state”. This tells me that all the children (except John, of course) have moved away. Perhaps Ivory H. lived closest to Jerusha; after all, Strafford and York counties are only separated by Salmon Falls River. Jerusha signed this document with an “X” (“her mark”). This appointment was approved on May 1 by Judge E.E. Bourne in Saco, Maine.

Also dated May 1 is a bond, signed by Ichabod G. Jordon and George Moore of Berwick, pledging themselves as sureties for Ivory H. to perform his duties as administrator. It seems that the first duty was to inventory the estate within three months. The document is signed by both men and by Ivory. The sureties were bound $1600 to the court. We also learn that the judge’s full name is “Edward E. Bourne”.

Ivory H. makes a statement dated October 2, 1866 that his father died intestate (without a will), and that Ivory’s personal property was not sufficient to pay the court fees, so a sale of real estate would be necessary. The judge signed off on this document.

On October 2, 1866 – Ivory H., who now lives in Wolfeborough, Carroll County, NH, signs a new bond with sureties Ichabod G. Jordon, and Alonzo B. Wentworth. bound to Judge Bourne for $1600. Connected with Ivory being licensed to sell the real estate.

October 3, 1866 Administrator’s Sale – to sell Ivory’s real estate at public auction at the store of Walker & Farmington in Berwick on November 10. Includes description of his land: two acres and buildings bound Easterly by Sullivan Lane, Southerly by Ivory M. Nute’s land, Westerly & Northerly by Samuel W. Fox. Also part of the sale: the family pew at Cranberry Meadow Meeting House. (through a little internet research, I found that Cranberry Meadow Meeting House was the early incarnation of Berwick’s current Methodist Church, so now I know the family was Methodist.) Ivory H. signed two statements, which were sworn before Ichabod G. Jordon, Justice of the Peace (remember, he was one of the sureties). One statement was regarding posting notifications for the sale, and the other was regarding the payment of $200 for the debts and charges of the sale. This page with its statements was returned to Judge Bourne, who signed on January 1, 1867. This page gives some very specific information about where Ivory and Jerusha lived in Berwick. Although Sullivan Lane no longer exists, there is a Sullivan Street. More on the land later.

There is a small, undated handwritten document that states “Alexander Junkins appointed guardian ad litem”, initialed “EEB”. After some research, I found out a guardian ad litem is appointed by the court to look after the interests of any minor children (this case being John). Alex signed a brief statement stating “I have had notice of [this petition] and see no objection to the sale as negotiated. Alex Junkins”

November 6, 1866 – petition by Jerusha for an allowance from Ivory’s estate. She was granted ninety-seven dollars and seventy-eight cents.

January 1, 1867 – First account of Ivory’s estate. Basically, a balance sheet. Amount of personal estate plus sums received = $630.78 (outlined on Schedule A). Amount of sums paid on Schedule B, plus publication of notices = $694.41.

Schedule A: rent received from Real Estate from John S. Marsh & Abel Baxter; sale of church pew ($1), and sale of real estate to Henry Clements. Schedule B: various bills; some seem to be amounts owed to the sureties and others, some to family members: Jennie Goldsmith, Jerusha, Lucy A. Colomy AND Lucy A. Foss (did Lucy lend money to Ivory during her then two marriages?), taxes, and some money lent to Ivory by Ivory H. The name of the gentleman who bought the real estate was a big clue for me in locating whereabouts Ivory and Jerusha lived. On the website [Historic Map Works], I found an 1870 map of Berwick, and I followed Sullivan Lane. Then I found Henry Clements–this was where the Goodwins had lived! I compared that map to a modern map, and was able to ascertain approximately where the land is!  (It seems that this location is now on Knox Lane.)

Approximate location of Ivory Goodwin's land. Courtesy Google Earth.

Approximate location of Ivory Goodwin’s land. Courtesy Google Earth.

To conclude, the probate packet may not have answered all my questions about Ivory Goodwin, but it sure lent more information to color my picture of him.

Fourth Great-Grandparents Ivory Goodwin and Jerusha Taunt

Now we’ve come to my fourth great-grandparents, Ivory Goodwin and Jerusha Taunt. I’m awfully curious about this couple who raised the thrice-married bigamist Lucy Goodwin and her alcoholic brother John, as well as the other siblings who I know even less about. What was it about this family? In the next couple of posts, I’ll share what I have been able to find about them, but unfortunately there isn’t much in the way of explanation of character.

Ivory and Jerusha’s marriage started on January 25, 1824 in Braintree, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. I always wondered how in the world they met, since Ivory was from Berwick, York County, Maine and Jerusha was from Braintree. Was Ivory in Boston, selling farm products? Regardless, the two made their home up in Berwick.

See the distance between Ivory + Jerusha?  Courtesy Google Earth Pro.

See the distance between Ivory + Jerusha? Courtesy Google Earth Pro.

Now let’s look at each one individually:

Ivory

Ivory was the third child of four and second son of Emery Goodwin and Mary “Polly” Hamilton. He was born on December 28, 1803 in Berwick, York County, Massachusetts. (Maine did not become a state until 1820.)

By the 1850 Census, Ivory was an established farmer who owned twelve acres of land valued at $1,000, which was on par with his neighbors. According to the Agricultural Schedule, it seems that his farm was a little smaller than the surrounding farms.

By the 1860 Census, however, Ivory’s fortunes seemed to take a turn for the worse. He was now working as a shoemaker and land was valued at $600 (judging by the names of his neighbors, this does not seem to be the same twelve acres that he used to own).

It seems that Ivory may have been involved in the local Democratic Party. On August 19, 1863, an Ivory Goodwin is listed as one of the secretaries of the Democratic Assembly in Alfred, York County, Maine.

Ivory passed away in Berwick at the age of 63 on February 19, 1866.

Jerusha

Jerusha B. Taunt was born on May 28, 1807 in Braintree, MA. I suspect that her middle initial stood for Billings, as she was the sixth of the eight children of Seth Billings Taunt and Anna Capernaum. (In fact, she was the second Jerusha born to them).

As I stated in telling her grandson Frank Colomy’s story, I suspect that Frank went to live with her, Ivory and John sometime around 1865, when his mother Lucy married Benjamin Foss.

Once Ivory died, I believe that Jerusha, John and Frank went to live with Lucy and Benjamin. (John later moved in with his brother Charles.)

By 1870, Jerusha, Lucy and the family were living in Lynn, Essex County, MA. Jerusha passed away on October 20, 1870 of paralysis. I’m not sure if it was a deteriorating condition, or the result of an accident or sickness.

Both Ivory and Jerusha are buried in Pine Hill Cemetery at Dover, Strafford County, NH.