Tuesday, April 8, 2014

52 Ancestors #14: Maggie (Joyce) Osborn - A Tragic Death

   Margaret Joyce was born February 28, 1863, in West Brookfield to Irish immigrants, William and Julia (Hyland) Joyce.  As a young woman, she moved to the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, where she found work as a housekeeper.  There she met and married, Hubert P. Osborn, a Civil War veteran.  Sometime after their marriage, on May 11, 1892, the couple moved to nearby Agawam, MA, where they were enumerated in the 1900 U. S. Census.  Hubert left Massachusetts and headed west to South Dakota, where he died in 1906.  I have been unable to ascertain Maggie's whereabouts between the time of the 1900 census and the fall of 1914 when she secured a room in a lodging house at 72 Pynchon Street, in Springfield.
  Page one of the "Springfield Republican" published Wednesday. December 30th, 1914, has the following headline:

                                        THREE KILLED BY GAS

                                      IN LODGING HOUSE ROOM

                                                 TWO WOMEN AND A MAN
                                        Mrs. Margaret Osborn, her Sister Josephine Joyce,
                                              and Man believed to be Their Brother
                                                         Dead When Discovered

   Maggie had arranged for lodging in the home just a couple months prior to her death.  It appears that her sister Josephine (born Julia) may have been with her at the time.  According to neighbors, the two sisters and the man (who turned out to be James Mahoney and not their brother James, as first thought), had been drinking liquor quite heavily for days.  The room was equipped with a coin operated gas supply, known as a quarter meter, which supplied gas to a stove and a burner. Apparently the time on the gas meter expired, the flames went out, but the gas had been left on.  Sometime later someone put a quarter in the meter, re-lit only the stove, and thus gas filled the room.  All were asphyxiated and dead when discovered by a neighbor who was alerted by the odor of the gas.
  Police investigated, and were, at first unable to identify the victims. Using information from neighbors, who knew the women to be from West Brookfield, and knew the man as Mr. Joyce, Springfield police made inquiries in West Brookfield.  Maggie's identity, and the probability that the sister know as Josephine was most likely Julia were later confirmed.  The police, in the course of the investigation found a copy of Maggie and Hubert Osborn's marriage record, and also a letter from the commandant of the soldiers' home in Hot Springs, South Dakota, informing Maggie of Hubert's death.  A letter from, Willie, a nephew, was also found. (Willie was most likely Josephine/Julia's son William Edward Joyce.)
   Margaret Osborn's death certificate, Registered No. 1776,  filed in Springfield gives the cause of death as "Accidental Suffocation due to the inhalation of illuminating gas during a period of intoxication."  Her sister Lizzie gave the personal and statistical information on the form, providing a birth date which was one year and one month later than Margaret's birth date in West Brookfield town records. 
  The newspaper article, found on the Genealogy Bank site, provided information, new to me, regarding the death of Hubert.  I also had not known that Julia used the name Josephine.  The article also contained information that I knew not to be true.  Maggie's brother James had been named as a surviving uncle to Willie, in a 1941 obituary, so I was quite certain that he was not the man found dead with Maggie and Julia.  A nephew, Claude Bugbee was named.  Claude was not a nephew, but his wife Julia (Bell) Bugbee was a niece.

http://www.americanancestors.org - Massachusetts Vital Records 1841-1910, Massachusetts Vital Records 1911 - 1915
http://www.genealogybank.com - above named article; and obituary of William Joyce, Springfield Sunday Union and Republican, Aug. 3, 1941, pg. 14A


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

52 Ancestors #13: Martha L. (Warren) Maynard

    Martha Lyman Warren was born May 29, 1828 in Westborough, Massachusetts.  Three months before Martha was born, her father, Lyman Warren, died at the age of thirty-two, leaving his widow, Sally (Claffin) Warren, to raise their four young daughters.
    I have no information about Martha's life from the time of her birth until 1850, when she was enumerated in the US Census with the family of boot manufacturer, George Daniel, in Holliston, MA.  Also living in Holliston at that time, in the household of Josephus Cutler, was a young boot maker named Onslow Maynard.  Onslow was also originally from Westborough. Martha Warren and Onslow Maynard married in Springfield, MA, by Clergyman S. G. Buckingham, on October 16, 1850.  By the time of the 1855 Massachusetts Census, the Maynards had settled in West Brookfield where Onslow worked as a shoemaker.  They shared a dwelling with Martha's sister Jane, and her husband Lyman H. Chamberlain.   Martha's mother, Sally Warren, lived in the Chamberlain household.
   In 1861, Onslow took over the management of the refreshment concession, including a large dining room, at the Boston and Western Railroad depot in town.  Martha, who assisted him, quickly developed a reputation as a wonderful cook. Every train passing through town stopped in order for passengers and crew to eat. Onslow died in 1873, and Martha continued the business as long as the facility remained.  When a new train station was built in 1885, Martha opened a small eatery not far away.  Later she opened a small business at the corner of Central and Front Sts., just across the road from the new depot.  This business, which included a restaurant, and a store where newspapers, candy, and tobacco were sold, was operated by Martha until her retirement.
   Martha was a member of the Congregational church choir for many years, and while Onslow was still living, she helped him with old fashioned singing schools according to her obituary.  She died at home in West Brookfield on February 2, 1919, at the age of ninety, and was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery.  She never had children, and no close relatives survived her. 
   A short Biography of Onslow Maynard found on page 179 in Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Volume 3, by Ellery Bicknell Crane, says that Onslow studied music, and was proficient in playing the guitar, harp, base viol and piano.  It further states that he "travelled extensively throughout the United States concertizing, and was widely known as a musician of ability."  I have not found evidence of his travels or performances, but as the biography later stated, he did teach music in West Brookfield as evidenced by his stated occupation of "Music Teacher" on the 1860 US Census.

 1. A History of West Brookfield: 1675-1990; Jeffrey H. Fiske; West Brookfield Historical Commission; 2009
 2.  Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of   Worcester County, Massachusetts, Volume 3; Ellery Bicknell Crane; http://www.googlebooks.com
 3.  MA Vital Records, http://www.americanancestors.org
  Worcester County Land Records; http://www.masslandrecords.com
 4. 1855 MA Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900 US Census,          http://www.ancestry.com
  5. Obituary of Martha L. Maynard; Springfield Daily Republican, 2/14/1919, p. 17; http://www.genealogybank.com

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

52 Ancestors #12: Arthur J. Plante

Arthur Joseph Plante, son of Jean-Hormisdas Plante and Melvina Chevalier, was born Jan. 7, 1883, probably in St. Ursule, Maskinonge, Quebec.  At the age of eight he entered the United States with his family in Oconto, Wisconsin, where his father found work as a lumberman.  Sadly, Arthur's father died in 1893, just two years after arriving in Wisconsin.  His mother remarried three years later, only to lose her second husband after just two years of marriage.  Twice, a widow, Melvina made her way to Palmer, Massachusetts, where her father, and her brother Zepherine had settled.  Arthur met Lillian Brow, and they were married in Palmer on Sept. 23, 1904. 
Arthur became a Naturalized Citizen Oct. 4, 1905
in District Court of Eastern Hampden, Palmer, MA
   Arthur and Lillian had a family of fourteen children, eleven of whom lived to adulthood.  Arthur worked for the railroad,  as a brakeman and belonged to the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen.   In 1929, Arthur and Lillian purchased a three-story home in West Brookfield, MA at the corner of Central and Front Streets.  The 1930 census shows Arthur, Lillian, nine of their children, and a daughter-in-law, living in the home.  By 1940, only three children were still at home, but Lillian's 81 year old father, George Brow, had become part of the household.  Arthur and Lillian sold the home to one their sons in 1949, and returned to Palmer.  Various family members continued to occupy the home until 1967, when it was sold to a realty company.  The dwelling was demolished sometime after the sale.
   Arthur died April 29, 1952 at a hospital in Westfield, and was buried in St. Anne's Cemetery in the Three Rivers section of Palmer.  His obituary on page 29 of the April 30th edition of the Springfield Union, named his widow, Lillian, and eleven surviving children.  It went on to mention that he had thirty-six grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren.  My husband was one of the latter.
   Today, many descendants continue to live in central Massachusetts.  Some have cherished memories of Memere and Pepere, and most are in possession of a copy of a family photo taken outside the West Brookfield home in 1939.  I have asked about a photo of the house, but family and local historians claim never to have seen one.

[Sources and further information are available upon request.]

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

52 Ancestors: #11 - Sylvanus T. Barlow - Invalid's Army Pension

   Sylvanus Thomas Barlow was born 23 Jan 1834 in Brookfield, Massachusetts to Joel and Mary (Berry) Barlow.  He married Ellen E. Clapp, daughter of Elijah and Eliza (Kent) Clapp of West Brookfield, in Stafford, Connecticut on December 1, 1858.  The couple settled near family in West Brookfield, where he worked as a farm laborer and later, a carpenter.  Two sons born to this union were Eugene Thomas Barlow, born 17 Aug. 1860, and Elmer Clapp, born 14 Aug. 1863[Source  MA Vital Records, but Widow's Pension entries state Elmer's year of birth as 1862].  Sylvanus enlisted in the Army in early 1864 leaving Ellen at home to care for her two boys. When Sylvanus returned from the war, in the spring of the following year, he was disabled and unwell.  His pension file is now located on http://www.fold3.com  Below is a transcription of the first page of his invalid's pension application.

                                                Invalid's Army Pension

State of Massachusetts
County of Hampden
On this2 8th day of June, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and sixty five personally appeared before me Clerk of the Superior Court, of the _____ Court, within and for the County and State aforesaid, Sylvanus Barlow, aged twenty nine years, a resident of West Brookfield, in the State of Massachusetts, who being duly sworn according to law, declares that he is the identical Sylvanus T. Barlow who enlisted in the service of the United States at West Brookfield Mass., on the second day of January in the year 1864, as a private in Company I, commanded by Captain A. C. Soley, in the Thirty Fourth Regiment of the Mass. Vol. Inf., commanded by Co. Geo. D. Wells, of Massachusetts, in the war of 1861, and was honorably discharged on the twenty fifth day of May, in the year 1865; that while in the service aforesaid, and in the line of his duty, he received the following

*Gun shot wound breaking the bone of the right arm above the elbow. The wound was received in action at Cedar Creek, Va on the 13th day of October AD 1864  Has had no use of said right arm since he was wounded
He has resided at West Brookfield, County of Worcester, State of Massachusetts, since leaving the service, and is by occupation _____

He hereby appoints C. D. Ettinger, & Co of Washington City, D.C. his Attorneys, with power of substitution, to prosecute his claim and receive the certificate when issued.
Signature of claimant  Sylvanus T. Barlow [signature]

Sadly, the injury to Sylvanus was serious, and permanent.  He never regained the use of his arm.  He died of consumption on June 16, 1867 in West Brookfield, leaving no real estate or personal property of value for his wife and sons.  He is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in West Brookfield.

Ellen applied for, and was granted a widow's pension, and her minor sons received funds, as well.  Ellen remarried and lost her pension, but renewed it after the death of her second husband, Remembrance Keyser.

Source: NEHGS website http://www.Americanancestors.org  Massachusetts Vital records to 1850 and Massachusetts Vital records 1841-1910
             http://www.fold3.com - Civil War Pension file of Sylvanus T. Barlow
More Barlow family information found on http://www.westbrookfieldgenealogy.org/genealogy

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

52 Ancestors #10: Eli Chamberlain - War of 1812 Soldier

   Recently I came across a file including Eli Chamberlain's Bounty Land Warrant information, and the Widow's Pension Claim of his widow, Achsah (Forbes) Chamberlain.  Part of the War of 1812 Pension File collection at Fold3, the files are from the NARA publication, War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files.  The information contained in the file confirms Eli's War of 1812 service, as claimed in other sources, and adds details I had not found previously.  Below is a short biography.
   Eli Chamberlain was born in Westborough, Massachusetts on Oct. 4, 1789 to Daniel and Lydia (Harrington) Chamberlain.  He was drafted in Westboro on Nov. 8, 1814, and served in Capt. Pierpont Brigham's Co. in the Massachusetts Militia from Sept. 10 through Nov. 1, 1814, when he was discharged at South Boston.  The length of this service in the regiment of infantry commanded by Col. Salem Town, was about seven weeks.
   Eli married Achsah Forbes, daughter of Jonathan and Sarah (Brigham) Forbes on Nov. 30, 1815 in Westboro,. (The ratification of the peace treaty had occurred about eight and one half months earlier, on Feb. 17.) Two children, Sarah Brigham and Lucius, were born in Westboro.  The family moved to the west parish of Brookfield in 1819 where eight additional children were born.  They were Harriet Amelia, Ephraim Forbes, Lyman Harrington, Joshua Metcalf, Achsah Juliet, Lucius Phelps, Daniel Henry, and Leander Trowbridge Chamberlain.  Mr. Chamberlain farmed and took an active role in community affairs, and in 1848, when the town of West Brookfield became separated from Brookfield, he was elected one of its first five selectmen.
   Eli was not eligible for a War of 1812 Pension due to the length of service requirements during his lifetime.  He was; however, eligible for Bounty Land granted to War of 1812 veterans, and did receive warrants for Bounty Land under the acts of 1850, and 1855.  He first received a warrant for 40 acres which he sold.  The second warrant was for 120 acres.  The locations of his land were not mentioned in the file, but may be available from the National Archives. Some likely locations would have been in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, or Iowa.
  Eli died of lung fever on the family farm in West Brookfield on March 10, 1858 and was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery there.  There is no evidence of a will or probate file.
  Eli's sons were well educated and achieved prominence in their fields.  Two of his daughters, Sarah and Harriet, married West Brookfield farmers, and settled in town. Daughter Achsah Juliet, married Jared Clark and lived first in Ohio and later in Illinois.
Further information may be found at http://www.westbrookfieldgenealogy.org/genealogy

More information about War of 1812 pension files may be found at http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog/2013/03/30/chasing-that-pension-file/

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

52 Ancestors #9: John Dillon - Civil War Soldier

   John Dillon was born in County Galway, Ireland to James and Honora (Liddy) Dillon.  The actual date of his birth may be December 31, 1845 as calculated from his age of 46 years 7 months 18 days on the day of his death Aug. 18, 1892. A Church Baptism Record from www.rootsireland.ie gives the date of Baptism/Birth as 11- Jan - 1846.
   The Dillon family including John, his parents, James and Honora, a sister Sarah, and brothers Patrick and James, came to the United States in 1848. They were living in West Brookfield, Worcester County, when John's sister Honora was born July 28, 1849.
   John enlisted in the Army on Dec. 11, 1863 and served in Company I, of the Massachusetts, 2nd Heavy Artillery Regiment.  He mustered out at Wilmington, North Carolina at the end of his term of service, on Sept. 3, 1865 and probably returned to West Brookfield for a time. 
   John eventually left home, and the next known record of him is a record showing that he was admitted to the U.S. National Home for Disabled Soldiers in Leavenworth, Kansas in 1887.  The records from that facility indicate that his residence previous to his admittance was in Fremont, Nebraska and that he was a carpenter by trade, suffering from spinal concussion. John was released from the soldiers' home in January of 1891 and returned to West Brookfield.  His death record indicates that he died Aug. 18, 1892, in West Brookfield, of paralysis of the brain, and was buried in the neighboring town of Ware.

More information about the Dillon family may be found at http://www.westbrookfieldgenealogy.org/genealogy

Courtesy of Nancy Horner

                                         Commonwealth of Massachusetts

                                         To John Dillon Co I 2d H. Art'y
             The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, honoring the faithful service of her Sons who formed part of the land and sea forces of the United States employed in suppressing Rebellion and maintaining the integrity of the Nation has by a resolve of the General Court of 1869 directed the undersigned to present you this Testimonial of the people's gratitude for your patriotism.
                                       Given at Boston, this nineteenth day of April in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred seventy.
By the Governor
Jas A Cunningham [signature]                        William Claflin [signature]
Adj. General                                                        Governor

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Last Will and Testament of Elizabeth (Cahill) Welch

[Note the variant spellings of Welch]
Worcester Probate 62748
Series A
                                         Know all men by these presents
   That I Elizabeth Walsh of West Brookfield, in the County of Worcester and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, calling to mind the uncertainty of human life and being in a sound disposing mind and memory do make this my last Will and Testament.
First. I direct my just debts and charges to be paid.
Second. I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter Elizabeth Walch daughter of Michael Walch of West Brookfield all of my real estate situated in West Brookfield consisting of a dwelling House and about one fourth of an acre of land.
Third. I appoint my son Thomas Walsh of Rutland in said county to be executor of this my last will and testament and in presence of three witnesses below named I subscribe my name or mark.                                                  her
                                                                Elizabeth  x  Walch
  On the 27th day of October A. D. 1873 we Charles Chaffin, Andrew Holton and James Hanly at the request of Elizabeth Walch saw her sign the above in our presence and we all signed in her presence and in the presence of each other.
                                                                    Charles Chaffin
                                                                    Andrew Holton
                                                                    James Hanly

Elizabeth died two days after her will was written.  Her death was recorded in Worcester and crossed out - died Oct. 29, Elizabeth Welch, W., age 81, residence Brookfield, place of death, Holden, born Ireland. The cause of death was listed as Accidental on R. R.  The death was also recorded in Holden as Elizabeth (Earle) Welch, age 81, W., died Oct. 29, of Pneumonia, born Ireland, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth both born in Ireland.  The circumstances of Elizabeth's death are unknown to me, but she was most likely staying with her daughter Bridget Fitzpatrick at that time.

The property identified in the will, and in the quitclaim deed in my previous post was located on Crescent Ave. (known locally as Pig Alley) in West Brookfield.  Michael Welch purchased it in 1868 and sold it to his mother Elizabeth in 1869.  See Worcester County Deed Book 771 pp. 457 -458 deed to Michael from Loring Thompson May 1 1868, and Deed book 849 pp. 199 - 200, July 22, 1869. http://www.masslandrecords.com/

Deed book 849 p. 199 July 22, 1869