Seventh-Great Grandparents: Seth and Jerusha Billings

In my last post, we learned of Levi Taunt and his wife, Jerusha Billings. I’d like to continue climbing up the Billings branch. Again, this is a family that needs more in-depth research, but I did find a couple of interesting nuggets along the way.

As stated before, Jerusha’s parents were Seth Billings and Jerusha Redman. Seth was born on February 1, 1728 in Stoughton, Suffolk County, MA. Some online trees suggest he was the second of the twelve children of Stephen Billings and Elizabeth Fenno. He and Jerusha Redman filed their marriage intention on January 3, 1749/1750, but I don’t have an exact marriage date.

Although they may have had more children, I could find four for sure:

  • Jerusha, born August 3, 1750 (perhaps her conception precipitated her parents’ marriage?); married Levi Taunt on February 25, 1768 in Stoughton, Suffolk County, MA
  • Seth, born May 30, 1756; died August 2, 1769 in Stoughton. Interesting story behind his death: Massachusetts, continuing its rebellious spirit spurred by the Stamp Act and those who enforced it, celebrated when Governor Bernard departed the colony on August 1, 1769. Bonfires were lit, cannons went off, and in Stoughton, a salute was fired off as he left. Sadly, young Seth got in the way and was injured, dying the next day.
  • Robert, born December 29, 1759; married Olive Bussey.
  • Zeruah, born August 11, 1762 in Stoughton; married Samuel Gooch, September 1, 1787; died August 31, 1801.

Seth, Sr. himself died on August 7, 1766, only 38 years old, leaving Jerusha widowed with four young children. She did not remarry until March 15, 1789 to Nathaniel Pitty. I can only suppose that she was assisted by her family until then.

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!

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!

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-Aunt Ada Jane (Goodwin) Goldsmith: More Questions than Answers

Ada Jane Goodwin (also referred to as Jennie) was born on July 28, 1837 in Berwick, York County, Maine, the sixth child of Ivory Goodwin & Jerusha Taunt. She married Thomas J. Goldsmith, a saloon keeper, on November 19, 1857 in Newmarket, Rockingham County, NH. By 1860 they moved to Dover, Strafford County, NH and there had a daughter, Nellie F., born on January 31, 1863.

First Parish Church in Dover, which was there when the Goldsmiths lived there.  Perhaps they attended?  Courtesy: Wikipedia.

First Parish Church in Dover, which was there when the Goldsmiths lived there. Perhaps they attended? Courtesy: Wikipedia.

In 1864, double tragedy struck: on August 8, Thomas died; and daughter Jennie also died in January, June or July 18, 1864 (the photo on FindaGrave is very hard to read).

Ada Jane eventually moved to Lynn, Essex County, MA. She died of peritonitis at 5 Howard Street on April 6, 1882. She is buried with Thomas, Jennie and her parents in Pine Hill Cemetery in Dover, NH.

Other than a couple of possible entries in the Lynn City Directory in the mid-1870’s, that is all I can find online for Ada Jane. There is so obviously a good story to be told (why would she marry a saloon keeper?) and too many unanswered questions (How did Nellie and Thomas die? Were their deaths somehow connected? Were Ada Jane and Lucy close, and is that why Ada Jane moved to Lynn?). This calls for offline research that may or may not turn up my desired answers.