The Randall Line: From Immigration to George

Now that I have less information on my Randalls, I thought I would give a quick fly-over of the generations between the first Randall in the new World up to George W. Randall, who I covered in my last post. I will just be covering my direct line, not the collaterals. Here we go!

The first Randall was William Randall born circa 1609 in England (thought to be in London, though that may be just where he sailed from). He was the son of Simon Randall and Jane Stephens. When William was 26, he immigrated aboard the ship Expectacon on April 24, 1635. The ship landed in Providence, RI, but William ended up settling in Scituate, MA.

It was in Scituate around 1640 where William married Elizabeth Barstow, daughter of Matthew Barstow and Isobel Hill. She was born around 1619 near Halifax, Yorkshire, England. (Some sources believe that William’s wife’s name was Elizabeth Carver; if anyone has proof arguments in this case, please let me know!) Elizabeth died on December 24, 1672 and William on October 13, 1693, both in Scituate.

William and Elizabeth had a son named William, who was born December 1647 in Scituate. This William moved to Rhode Island and settled in Providence, in the area that is now Cranston, RI (which did not become a town until 1754). He had a grist mill on the west bank of the Pocasset River. He married Rebecca Fowler circa December 1674 or 1675. Rebecca was the daughter of Henry Fowler and Rebecca Newell and was born 1656 in Providence. William died April 11, 1712 and Rebecca on March 23, 1730. It is interesting to note that on October 24, 1702, William freed ” his negro slave” named Peter Palmer for his good service, “to be his own man at his own disposing.” This is my first knowledge of any slave-holding ancestors in my family. I’m glad that William freed Peter, and I wonder whatever became of him.

William and Rebecca were the parents of a son named William, who was born on September 10, 1675 in Providence. It seems that he, like his father, was a miller. He married Abial Wight (who was born on October 8, 1675) on October 8, 1693 (what a birthday present!). William died on July 8, 1742 and Abial on September 2, 1753. Both are buried at St. Ann’s Cemetery, which is located in Cranston. St. Ann’s is obviously a Catholic Cemetery and it was established in the 1850’s. It is a very large cemetery and abuts, among other things, Randall Pond. Perhaps William owned this portion of land and it had become the family cemetery (several generations of their descendants are buried here).

William and Abial had their own son named William (the last one for this line – I promise!), born circa 1695. He married a woman named Mercy Williams (also born around 1695) on April 14, 1720. Her parents were Joseph Williams and Lydia Hearnden (or Herenden or Harrington), and we will be revisiting them in a later post!

I have no idea about William and Mercy’s deaths and burials, but they had a son named Joseph (I assume named after Mercy’s father) circa 1728 in Knightsville, which is a section of current-day Cranston. He married Abigail Westcott (or Westscott) (born circa 1732) in 1750. They eventually moved to Johnston, Providence County, RI where Joseph died on November 25, 1775 (I don’t have a death date for Abigail). As I stated in my post about their son George, their place of burial was moved to Woodlawn Cemetery in Johnston, where generations of Randalls now lie.

Great-Great Uncle William Gorton Atwell: Enigma

William Gorton Atwell is one of those family members who has just enough information to get me interested, but not enough to get a full picture of who he was.

Most sources say that William was born on July 18, 1888 in Providence, Providence County, RI. His World War I Draft Registration card stated the same date in 1887–but I believe he may have had a reason to state this (more on that later). He was the oldest living son of William Armstrong Atwell and Altie May Williams.

Being just a child, William doesn’t show up in records again until the 1900 Census — and this time it’s twice! On June 9, he is enumerated with his family in Providence; but on June 12, he is enumerated in nearby Cranston, Providence County, RI at Sockanosset School for Boys. I am certain both records are for William — all the census information is identical. Also, June 9 was a Saturday and William could very well have been home from school for the weekend.

My research revealed that Sockanosset was basically a school for juvenile delinquents. The greatest number of admissions were for theft, but there were many other reasons, including truancy and even “incorrigibility”! Why was William there? Did he do something wrong; was he a difficult child? I could find nothing in on-line newspapers about any possible crimes. In any case, Sockanosset was known for its work in rehabilitating these wayward boys, providing them with schooling, a chapel and a gymnasium. The boys were also taught various skills, such as carpentry, masonry, and printing. I highly suspect this is where William developed the skills for his future occupation in working in the printing industry.

William’s 1917 Draft Registration card indicated that he served four years in the Navy. The big question is: when did he serve? I suspect it must be sometime before 1910, when he next shows up in Providence. Maybe he was the one who lied about his age to join the Navy (rather than my great-grandfather), which may be why his birth date on the card isn’t the same as every other record. His time in Sockanosset indicates possible unrest at home and I cannot find him in the 1905 Rhode Island Census.

Despite me not being able to find him on the 1910 Census, William was living at 100 Sheldon Street in the 1910 and 1912 Providence City Directories. On June 28, 1913, he married Mary Cecelia Downey (who was about five months pregnant) in East Providence. After this point, he shows up consistently in various locations in East Providence and Providence, working as a paper cutter or printer. His World War I Draft Registration card gives even more information, saying that he worked as a bookbinder at C.H. Fryer & Co. at 11 Pine Street in Providence.

William and Mary’s children were:

  • Thomas Francis (was he named after my great-grandfather?), born November 7, 1913; married Edith Hill, then Beatrice ____; died Jan 3, 2002; buried at Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Exeter, Washington County, RI.
  • Dorothy Mary, born Feb 10, 1915 in East Providence; married John Michael Cronin; died August 20, 1970 in Oxnard, Ventura County, CA; buried in Santa Clara Cemetery in Oxnard.
  • William J., born April 14, 1916; died March 1992; buried Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Providence.
  • female stillborn, born & died on May 8, 1917.
  • Richard J., born Aug 13, 1918; died Jun 19, 2003 in Bristol, Bristol County, RI; buried Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Exeter, Washington County, RI.
  • Virginia F, born Dec 1, 1920; married ____ Brightman; died November 1978; buried Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Providence.
  • Norma Cecelia, born 1923, died February 3, 1924.

The most mysterious thing to me about William is the fact that he died on July 9, 1923 in Providence at the age of 35. I have no idea why, but only have a feeling that it was very sad. This, coupled with their youngest child’s death only seven months later must have devastated Mary and the other children. Of course, Mary had the support of her mother and siblings who they lived with until Mary’s remarriage to Edward Joseph Berry between April 24, 1925 (where she is still widowed in the RI Census) and April 10, 1930 (where she is remarried).

The final mystery of William is where he is buried. Nor could I find Mary or Edward’s burial information anywhere.

The Redman Legacy

I last touched on the Redman name in this post about Seth Billings and Jerusha Redman. Since then, I’ve learned a bit more about Jerusha’s heritage. I’m going to start from the earliest known Redman, because it’s going to get really confusing!

The first Redman I know of was named Charles (we’ll call him Charles 1), who lived in Dorchester, MA. He made a will on December 30, 1668, which was probated on January 31, 1669, so I imagine he was on death’s door when he wrote his will.

Charles 1 had a son named Robert (he will be Robert 1), who in 1662 laid out 200 acres of land in newly-formed Milton for the ministry of the church. Robert 1 died in 1678.

Robert 1’s youngest some was named Charles (we’ll call him Charles 2–I said this would get confusing!). Charles 2 lived in Milton and on February 10, 1688, married Martha Hill of Dorchester. Just two years later, Charles 2 was among many soldiers from the Dorchester area that served under Captain John Withington in an ill-fated expedition to Canada (likely as part of the many French and India skirmishes). At least forty-six of his regiment, including Withington, were lost at sea. Fortunately Charles 2 himself survived the entire experience.

Charles 2 and Martha had at least six children by 1700, listed in Huntoon’s History of the Town of Canton…: Robert (he’ll be Robert 2) (born March 30, 1694), John (born May 8, 1696), Mary, Martha, Mercy (born July 8, 1698) and Thankful.

March 1, 1704/05 was a significant date in Redman family history: Charles 2 began a lease of land from the Native Americans, who had been granted an area of land called Ponkapoag (also spelled Punkipog and other various spellings, as you can imagine) in what is now Canton, MA. (There was a five-year period from 1715 when Charles 2 did not lease this land, but it was back in his hands in 1720.) Apparently Charles 2 cultivated some apple trees here.

Robert 2 grew up and took on the responsibilities of a man of his time: he married his wife, Mary Kennee (or Keeney) on August 1, 1722 in Boston by Samuel Checkley, Esq. By March 22, 1725, Charles 2 had passed away, as referenced in a deed of Ponkapoag land from the natives to Robert 2 and the other heirs of Charles 2. Exactly how much land went to the others, I am not sure, but Robert 2 was appointed the administrator of Charles 2’s estate on June 14 of that year, so he probably was the one to make that decision.

Robert 2 continued to improve his land by building a sawmill along Ponkapoag Brook, one of the first mills in that area. In 1726, he opened his home for use as the community’s first school. I have to wonder who taught at the school–was it Robert himself, or maybe someone in the church?

Redman Farm was not the only land that Robert owned. In 1737 he received a grant of land in the “Dorchester Canada” settlement, which is now Ashburnham, Worcester County, MA. This grant was among many that were given to the descendants of Withington’s 1690 Canada expedition. It seems that Robert 2 must have sold this grant, since it is not mentioned in his December 18, 1657 will.

Robert 2 passed away on November 8, 1760 and his will (which is meticulously written) was proved on December 19, 1760. Half of his land passed to his living son Robert, and the other half to his wife Mary, to be divided later among their remaining children. (Mary seems to have died sometime between 1768 and 1780.) All their children were:

  • Robert; died in childhood, October 6, 1731.
  • Sarah; died in childhood, March 19, 1725.
  • John, born September 20, 1730, died unmarried June 6, 1761. Robert 2’s will implies that he must have had issues with this son: firstly, he left him just five shillings, then stated that, out of is wife’s Mary’s half of the estate, John could have “two fifths of [the] remainder if he behaves well and dutifully to his mother during her life”, otherwise she could distribute it as she saw fit. These statements and seeing how soon John died after his father’s death makes me wonder about John’s lifestyle. However, John did make a will that left everything to his mother, so I suppose that in the end, he was “dutiful”.
  • Robert, married Mary Dunbar on April 23, 1767; died 1778 with no children.
  • Sarah, born August 10, 1732; married Jonathan Kinney; died before December 1757. She had two children.
  • Martha, married Nehemiah Liscom on October 9, 1761; died before September 1763 with no children.
  • Jerusha, born January 31, 1735; married Seth Billings (probably in early 1750), then Nathaniel Pitty on March 15, 1789. She had four children. I had wondered how she had carried on after Seth’s death in 1766; now I know that her inheritance must have helped.
  • Mary, married Thomas Spurr, Jr. on August 15, 1744; died early 1780. She had ten children.

As a final note, the location of the lands of Redman Farm is at the Ponkapoag Golf Course in Canton, MA and includes part of the Ponkapoag Trail, which is open for public hiking. In fact, the left portion of the trail is called “Redman Farm Path”. I would love to walk on this trail some day and think about my ancestors who may have walked here as well!

The grounds of Redman Farm today. Courtesy Google Earth.

The grounds of Redman Farm today. Courtesy Google Earth.

Third Great-Uncle William Faulkner White: A Key Connection

William Faulkner White, second child of Job R. and Elizabeth Phoebe White, was born 1843 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. He married Maria J. McNiel on February 9, 1866 by Rev. Henry Augette in Yarmouth in the Baptist Church. He lived in and worked as a farmer in Kemptville, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia between 1867 – 1874. In 1879, William and his family decided to follow in his parents’ footsteps and immigrate to the United States. They lived in Peabody and Salem, which are towns neighboring Lynn, Massachusetts. While there, he worked as a machinist, then by 1900 he was working as a carpenter, perhaps following in his father’s footsteps.

William and Maria’s children were:

  • Gertrude M (born March 8, 1867 in Kemptville)
  • Ervin Havelock (born March 4, 1871 in Kemptville)
  • Herman Douglas (born December 8, 1872 in Kemptville)
  • Gilbert A. (born October 11, 1874 in Rockingham)
  • Ernest William (or Washington) (born December 21, 1877 in Yarmouth)
  • Murray C. (born May 15, 1880 in Peabody, Essex County, MA)
  • Edgar (born May 29, 1882 in Salem, Essex County, MA)
  • Mabel (born May 29, 1882 in Salem, Essex County, MA)

William died in March 1931. Like so many of his family, he was buried in Pine Grove (Campanula Path,Lot-105,Grave-1/a) but with no gravestone. Maria died September 1932 and is also buried at Pine Grove (Plot-L, Lot-200,Grave-1).

For me, this story does not end with William’s death. William’s son Ernest married Faustina C. Mason on December 14, 1896, a month after the birth of their son, Ernest Harmon, in Lynn. Three years later, their daughter Hazel Faustina was born on December 19, 1899. Hazel went on to marry Thomas Howard Hill and have a son of her own, Sherman Granville on October 9, 1919.

Hazel White on left, circa 1919.  Courtesy Deb Thompson Colomy.

Hazel White on left, circa 1919. Courtesy Deb Thompson Colomy.

Making the connection back to William Faulkner White was important to me because I knew Hazel, Sherman, and Sherman’s wife Ginny, and I needed to know just how we were related (turns out she is my second cousin twice removed). When I was a little girl and we would visit her, Hazel would give me some chocolate or a little toy. Ginny and Sherman were always kind and friendly as well. Years later, after my grandfather’s funeral, Hazel sought me out to ask, “Do you remember me?” Oh, yes, I did! I was glad to recount her kindnesses, and she was glad I remembered. I also learned around this time that she had been very close to my great-grandmother Bertha.

Sadly, that was the last time I saw Hazel. She stayed in Lynn, and we were living on the far end of Connecticut. Hazel passed away on January 18, 1992, having outlived not only her husband (who had died in the 1920s), but her son Sherman and daughter-in-law Ginny as well. All are buried at Pine Grove; Ginny and Sherman are in the World War II section (which I still need to visit), and Hazel is buried in the Wren Section, Grave 583. I was able to pay my respects during my pilgrimage to Pine Grove two years ago. Once again, I remembered this cousin and her kindness to me.

Hazel Hill gravestone, Pine Grove Cemetery.  Author's collection.

Hazel Hill gravestone, Pine Grove Cemetery. Author’s collection.

Bertha & George Edmund Pleau: Aftermath

After my post about my great-grandfather George Edmund Pleau dying in 1932, commenter chmjr2 wondered what became of George’s wife (my great-grandmother) Bertha and his son (my grandfather) George.

It wasn’t long before Bertha and young George moved back to Lynn, Massachusetts from Baltimore by 1933, where they lived at 145 Lewis Street.  Bertha’s mother Jennie had long since died, but here mother’s extended family (the Whites) lived in and around Lynn and her father and brother Frank and Edwin Colomy both lived there.  Family stories state that Bertha’s first cousin once-removed Hazel (White) Hill took care of George during the 1930s; however, Hazel was also a widowed single (and working) mother, so I don’t know how she would have had time to do so.

16 Cherry Street, Lynn, MA.  Courtesy Google Earth.

16 Cherry Street, Lynn, MA. Courtesy Google Earth.

From 1935 to 1940, Bertha and George lived at 16 Cherry Street. Bertha worked as a shoe worker and George eventually went on to Lynn English High School.  Frank, the only grandfather that George would have ever known, died in 1936 of a brief illness.

 

Bertha's final resting place.  Author's collection.

Bertha’s final resting place. Author’s collection.

Bertha died in March 1940; my aunt’s guess was that it was due to a heart problem, but I don’t have here death certificate yet to confirm or disprove this.  Bertha is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery next to her brother’s 2nd wife, Eleanor.  I assume that Edwin Colomy was willing to give up this plot, since he was married to his 3rd wife Pearl by then, in order to help his nephew with the predicament of his mother’s burial.  Bertha’s name is not inscribed on the gravestone.

George Edmund Pleau high school diploma.  Author's collection

George Edmund Pleau high school diploma. Author’s collection

Shortly after Bertha’s death, George moved in with music teacher Benjamin Johnson at 474 Eastern Avenue.  I assume Benjamin was an associate of Bertha’s, since she had been a piano teacher for many years.  George worked as a part-time clerk at a grocery store and managed to graduate from high school on June 14.  I was so proud of him when I found his diploma; how difficult those months must have been!

It wasn’t long before George began a relationship with Eugenie Beryl Atwell of 143 Timson Street.  They were married on February 8, 1941 in Seabrook, Rockingham County, NH.  At this point that is all I can say, as we start to get into living memory.

This was just a tiny glimpse at the end of Bertha Pleau’s life, but there was so much more to her story, as my aunt and I began to discover.  It seems to have begun at least two generations before she was born.  More to follow!