Third Great-Uncle Joseph White: Wait – What?

Technically, this is kind of a U-Turn post for my entries on Job and Elizabeth White and on John David White, but I think Joseph deserves his very own post.

One of the great things about online genealogy is connecting with cousins who may have pieces of information that you may or may not be looking for. I had the pleasure of meeting online, and later in person, one of Edgar Douglas White‘s descendants from New Zealand. (For purposes of privacy here, I will refer to him as “my cousin”.) My cousin is the fortunate custodian of many letters from the White family in Lynn to far-away Edgar. He shared with me the first letter dated January 3, 1869 that Edgar received from Job, which includes the following:

I have been in Lynn about six months. I am doing pretty well. I board with Fannie. She is married here well off. Your mother and the family will be here in the spring. Joseph lives in Glosseter [sic]: 30 miles from here.

Excerpt from Job White’s letter to his son Edgar. Author’s collection.

This was my first inkling that another son named Joseph even existed! What else could I find out about him? And how would this impact my previous conclusions about the family?

My first stop would be the 1870 Census. Since I had a name and a location, it was easy to find Joseph: he boarded at James Bennie’s house in Gloucester, Essex County, MA and worked as a laborer. The census confirmed that his birthplace was Nova Scotia and his age was 22, putting his year of birth about 1848. This fits in with the timeline of births in the family.

Joseph’s existence changes my narrative about his older brother, John. Since Joseph was living by the 1870s, he would have been the one enumerated on the 1861 Canada Census rather than John. This would mean that John probably died no later than about age 15.

Judging by Job’s letter, it seems that at least Fannie was in the United States before Job, and I suspect that Joseph might have been as well. It would have made a lot of sense for a single woman to travel with her brother, and they could help take care of each other in their new homeland. Once Fannie married Harmon Burns in 1868, Joseph was free to live on his own, as he was by 1869.

I’ve found a few stray records that mention a “Joseph White” in Massachusetts at about the same age, but the information is so scant and the name too common to confirm that it would be this Joseph. The only other information I have is that Joseph “went West” sometime before May 3, 1872, according to another letter that my cousin transcribed. The letter stated that the family had not yet heard from Joseph, so I don’t know if they ever did, or where in the “West” he went.

Advertisements

U-Turn: Great-Grandmother Bertha Colomy

So long ago, I touched on Bertha Colomy’s June 27, 1900 marriage to Frederick Morton French. At the time, all I knew was that they divorced by 1910. Thanks to online city directories, now I know a little more! (Thank you, HeritageQuest!)

In the 1903 Lynn, MA Directory, I found that Bertha French was living at 63 Autumn Street (where her mother Jennie and stepfather James Starbard lived). It looks like Bertha lived with her mother until about 1905, then in other locations in Lynn.

63 Autumn Street, Lynn. Author’s collection.

So Bertha was at least separated from Frederick after about three years of marriage. Although I still don’t know when the divorce took place, this clue narrows down the timeframe a bit.

Great-Great Aunt Winifred Margaret Atwell: Rising Star

Winifred Margaret Atwell was born October 7, 1885 in Providence, Providence County, RI.  She was the oldest daughter of William Atwell and Altie May Williams and the oldest of their children that lived to adulthood.

Winifred completed four years of high school, and it seems that she had a musical education as well. Perhaps William took it upon himself to teach her. I found at least two articles from 1902 and 1904 where Winifred accompanied her father to performances. At both she performed dramatic reading and at one even played a piano solo. Later in 1908 and 1909, she taught music alongside her father at the Atwell Music Studios.

Eventually, music seemed to fade away for Winifred as her performance expanded into acting; in the 1910 Census, she listed her occupation as “actress” in a “theatre”. It was hard to find her in the following years; however, I knew that she had taken a stage name: Margaret Armstrong. Although I think it’s a great sounding name, its so much more common than “Winifred Atwell”! The January 1917 edition of Providence Magazine stated that Margaret Armstrong was “an actress of exceptional ability”. It seems that her career was starting to take off. On January 2, 1917 she was in Manhattan, marrying Arthur Holzel. Perhaps she was beginning some work in New York’s theaters. Regardless, this was the last time that I saw her referred to as “Winifred M. Atwell”. Since she went by “Margaret” for the rest of her life, I will refer to her as such from now on.

Winifred Margaret Atwell on her wedding day, January 2, 1917.  Author's collection.

Winifred Margaret Atwell on her wedding day, January 2, 1917. Author’s collection.

The Holzels seemed to find themselves in Lynn, Essex County, MA, where their daughter Evelyn Atwell Holzel said she was born on March 27, 1918. (Although I have found no primary sources to support this yet.)

Now, if the name Arthur Holzel might sound vaguely familiar, it was because he was later known as Arthur Vinton, an actor on stage (in the 1920s), screen and radio (in the 1930s and 1940s). As Arthur’s and Margaret’s careers began to ramp up, their relationship started to break down. More on all of this in the next post!

Great-Grandfather Thomas Francis Atwell I: Beyond the Navy

I’ve already touched on my great-grandfather’s life with respect to his time in the navy and partly through writing about his wife (my great-grandmother), Eva Christina Lipsett. Now it’s time to dig a little deeper.

Thomas Francis Atwell I was born on October 4, 1891 in Providence, Providence County, RI. He was the fifth child and third son of William Armstrong Atwell and Altie May Williams. I don’t know much about his childhood, other than that his schooling ended with a ninth grade education and that his parents divorced sometime between 1900 and 1905. I’m told that Thomas’ father William could be difficult to get along with, but in spite of that, all the children seemed to remain with him as opposed to Altie after the divorce. When William re-married to Ethel Fane in 1905, Thomas got along well with her and later his half-brother Wallace.

There is a family story that says that things were so bad at home that Thomas lied about his age to join the navy. However, from what I can tell, he enlisted in 1909 when he was eighteen, so I don’t know about the part about lying about his age. Perhaps joining the navy was Thomas’ best option for leaving home once he turned eighteen? In any case, he seems to have begun his naval time at the academy in Newport, Newport County, RI.

We already know that Thomas married Eva on June 30, 1920 in Salem, Essex County, MA. I would love to know how they met; perhaps he had some shore leave in Boston and ran into her somehow? Whether he had any prior relationships, I do not know. I’m sure it would have been difficult to maintain a relationship for very long, being stationed on a ship for great lengths of time. In any case with Eva, it was love; this was obvious in the way my great-grandfather spoke of her even after her death.

Eva + Thomas Atwell in Swampscott, MA, 1959. Author's Collection.

Eva + Thomas Atwell in Swampscott, MA, 1959. Author’s Collection.

As I’ve written before, Thomas and Eva started their family in the 1920s. After a brief time out of the navy in the 1930s, he worked as a superintendent in an office building. Then after his time back in the navy during World War II, Thomas again returned to civilian life and began working for the Lynn Institute for Savings (a bank) in 1947 and continued there until retirement in 1967. Since Eva had died in 1963, the house on Timson Street in Lynn must have seemed too big for him, so he put the house on the market in November 1964 and bought the tiny home on Bulfinch Road that I remember. A few months later, the house on Timson Street was sold.

Although he was retired and downsized, Thomas in no way checked out of life. He still drove around town, and attended Christmas and other family parties that his daughter Eugenie threw. One thing that I discovered was that during the 1970s, he wrote a few letters to the editor of the Boston Herald-American. (I suppose that he also must have written to the Lynn Daily Item, but those archives are not yet online.) Many of the short, pointed letters had a political bent to them, such as properly addressing the President of the United States and anti-union sentiments. One outlined eight ways to “save the U.S.A.”, which would be seen as very conservative (and probably politically incorrect) today. He also wrote about his beloved Boston Red Sox, who he often watched on the TV set in his living room. Mind you, this was deep in the years during the “Curse of the Bambino”.

Thomas lived on his own for many years, but spent the very end of his life in a Lynn nursing home, passing away at the very respectful age of 96. He is buried with Eva at Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn.

Atwell-Pleau grave, Pine Grove Cemetery, Lynn, MA. Author's collection.

Atwell-Pleau grave, Pine Grove Cemetery, Lynn, MA. Author’s collection.

Taunt: A Short But Fruitful Branch

Remember Jerusha Taunt? I wanted to document her lineage as well, starting with her paternal line. Sadly, I only had it going back two more generations. Little did I know that there was a surprise waiting for me as I prepared this post!

Let’s start with the basics, beginning with Jerusha’s father, Seth Billings Taunt. He was the son of Levi Taunt and Jerusha Billings, born on September 26, 1772 in Stoughton, Plymouth County (now Norfolk County), MA. On March 11, 1794 he married Anna Capernaum in Braintree, Norfolk County, MA. One source, The Record of Births, marriages and Deaths and Intentions of Marriage in the Town of Stoughton… noted that the intention of marriage was filed in March 1794 between Seth Taunt and “Mrs. Anna Copernaun”. This brings two questions to mind: Which is the correct spelling of her surname (which I know is very subjective back then)? And “Mrs.” — was Anna really married before? If so, what is her maiden name?

The following are Seth and Anna’s children, the facts of whom all took place in Braintree unless otherwise noted:

  • Anna, born August 3, 1794 (by this date you can see why the intention of marriage was filed!); died September 5, 1811.
  • William, born after 1794; died July 15, 1797.
  • Cynthia, born May 21, 1798; married Elisha Savil on December 20, 1818; died April 23, 1876.
  • Jerusha, born February 7, 1801; died October 12, 1803 (obviously not my Jerusha).
  • Seth, born December 16, 1804; married Mary J. Holbrook on January 19, 1825.
  • Jerusha B. (as I stated before, I suspect that “B.” is for Billings), born May 28, 1807; married Ivory Goodwin on January 25, 1824; died October 20, 1870 in Lynn, Essex County, MA.
  • William, born August 24, 1809; died before January 15, 1817.
  • William, born January 15, 1817.

Seth died on April 17, 1837 and Anna on January 29, 1856, both in Braintree. I have no burial information on them at this time.

Going back a generation, we come to Seth’s father Levi, who lived in Stoughton. There are other Taunts in Stoughton around Levi’s time, and I suspect they are related, but I don’t know how. (Again, a job for an in-person research trip to the town!)

On December 7, 1767, Levi and his future bride Jerusha Billings (born August 3, 1750 to Seth Billings and Jerusha Redman) filed their marriage intention with George Crosman, Stoughton town clerk. They were married on February 25, 1768 by Reverend Samuel Dunbar, a long-time minister there.

Although the 1790 census shows more people in Levi Taunt’s home, I’ve only uncovered two children attributed to him and Jerusha:

  • Charlotte (also listed as Charity and Charlety), born December 10, 1768; married Ebenezer Holmes on February 10, 1789.
  • Seth, born September 26, 1772; outlined above.

Now for the interesting part. Normally before I write a blog post, I review what records I have and maybe do a quick second look in Google. Under a spelling variation of “Tant”, I came across Levi’s name in the History of the Town of Canton, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, by Daniel Thomas Vose Huntoon. Though published in 1893, Huntoon wrote the book in the 1860s after having been Town Clerk in Canton (which had been part of Stoughton) and desiring to preserve the history from its records. Under Appendix XX, “Levi Tant” was listed as a private who was in the First Company under Captain James Endicott, among a contingent of minutemen who marched from Stoughton on April 19, 1775 upon hearing news of the Lexington alarm. Under Appendix XXI, “Levi Taunt” is listed among the “Soldiers who served in the Revolution after the Lexington Alarm”. So my sixth great-grandfather was a minuteman and a Patriot!

Lexington Minuteman Monument. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Lexington Minuteman Monument. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Other than this one book, I can’t easily find any other record of his service (which of course will mean more deep digging). However, I have no reason to doubt it either. What a find, just in time for Independence Day!

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.

Fourth Great-Uncle Ivory H. Goodwin

Ivory H. Goodwin was born November 26, 1825 in Berwick, York County, ME. He was the oldest child of Ivory Goodwin and Jerusha Taunt. I’m not sure what his middle initial stood for, but my guess is that it might be “Hamilton”, after Ivory Sr.’s mother’s maiden name.

As an adult, Ivory became a shoemaker and married Mary Elizabeth Amazeen on November 20, 1848 in New Castle, Rockingham County, NH. Their children were:

  • Penelope Virginia (sometimes called Nellie) born July 17, 1851 in New Castle
  • William E., born 1853 in New Castle
  • unnamed twin daughters who were stillborn on December 23, 1858 in Farmington, Strafford County, NH

Sometime between 1858 and 1860, the family moved to Dover, Strafford County, NH, where Ivory continued to work as a shoemaker. According to the 1860 Census, he did not own any land.

Ivory’s father Ivory had died on February 19, 1866, so on May 1, Ivory H. was appointed the administrator of his father’s estate. (Jerusha had waived her right as executrix, I assume because she may have been in poor health, to be discussed in a later post.) Since Ivory Sr. died without a will, it took some time (until early 1867) for the estate to be settled.

Ivory H. Goodwin's signature on his father's probate record.  Courtesy FamilySearch.

Ivory H. Goodwin’s signature on his father’s probate record. Courtesy FamilySearch.

It seems that barely any time had passed when Ivory himself died on June 8, 1868 at the age of 43 in Wolfborough, Carroll County, NH, where the family had moved in 1866. I have no idea how he died or where he was buried.

Mary went on to remarry Eli Sherman on June 30, 1877. They went on to live in Portsmouth, Rockingham County, NH and have children of their own. Eli died in 1900 and Mary followed much later in 1920.

Penelope ended up marrying twice. The first time was to George Hale on October 28, 1871 in Lynn, Essex County, MA (why was she in Lynn?), and he and Penelope were no longer together as of the 1880 Census (she is shown as still married but living with her mother as of 1880). She remarried to George M. Ayers on January 8, 1883 in Portsmouth. They were together but childless until George’s death prior to 1900. Nellie herself passed away at the Portsmouth home of her half-sister on June 21, 1931.

William’s story seems most tragic to me. He lived away from home by 1870 (at age 16), boarding with Ebenezer Wentworth’s family in Milton, Strafford County, NH (I wonder why?); then in 1880, he was boarding with the Henry Redlington family in Abington, Plymouth County, MA. On November 28, 1883, he and Henry’s daughter Nellie were wed in New Castle, NH. He died only three years later on November 23, 1886 in Abington of what looks like “alithisis”.