Monday, August 18, 2014

52 Ancestors #27: John Clayton - Born John Crouch


While browsing through images of Worcester County Probate Files on familysearch.org, I came across a file for John Clayton of West Brookfield.  I decided to view the contents of the file and immediately noticed that John's heirs included some of his brothers.  What interested me, was that his brothers had the last name, Crouch, and not Clayton.  I did some further research, and found that John Crouch had changed his name to John Clayton on April 16, 1836.  I found an online tree which included the Crouch family and it gave me some insight as to the reason for the name change, (see notes in online tree), and while I have not been able to verify the information, I believe it to be true, at least in part.  Below, I have transcribed the Will of John Clayton from the online images.

Know all Men by these Presents,


That I, John Clayton of West Brookfield in the County of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, being if sound mind and memory, but, knowing the uncertainty of this life, do, this thirtieth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy two make and publish this, my last Will and Testament, in manner and form following, that is to say:-

First      I give bequeath and devise to my beloved wife Emma A Clayton and her heirs my household furniture wearing apparel and family stores which may be on hand at my decease - Also my Homestead situated in West Brookfield aforesaid and consisting of about one half acre of land with a dwelling House Barn and other buildings thereon, being the same now occupied by me

Second   I give and bequeath to my brother William Crouch and his heirs and assigns the sum of Five hundred dollars

Third      I give and bequeath to my sister Eudocia Small and her heirs the sum of Five hundred dollars

Fourth    I give and bequeath to my sister Mercy Bacon and her heirs the sum of Five Hundred dollars

Fifth       I give and bequeath to my sister Emily White and her heirs the sum of Five Hundred dollars

Sixth      I give and bequeath to my brother Levi S. Crouch and his heirs the sum of Five Hundred Dollars

Seventh I give and bequeath to my sister Mary Dunham and her heirs the sum of Three Hundred Dollars

Eighth    I give and bequeath to the Congregational Society of West Brookfield the sum of One Hundred dollars to be expended by said society in the purchase of books for their Sabbath school Library.

Ninth     I hereby order and direct my executor herein after named to cause to come to be erected in the burial ground at Brimfield Massachusetts three grave stones of suitable size and quality to wit: one to the memory of my brother Benjamin Crouch and his wife - one to the memory of my fathers second wife and one to the memory of my brother Ruel Crouch

Tenth     I hereby autherize and direct my Executer[sic] herein after named to sell and dispose of , pass deeds and convey, at such time and in such manner as he shall deem best for the interest of my estate, any and all of my real and personal estate wherever situated -(Excepting such part thereof as is herein before bequeathed and devised to my wife Emma A Clayton)

Eleventh After the payment of my just debts and funeral charges, the erection of  suitable grave stone to my memory (which I direct to be done) the bequests and orders herein before expressed and the necessary expenses of administration of my estate - I hereby give and bequeath the remainder of all my estate both real and personal (That is the proceeds of the sale thereof) of what value and nature soever to my aforesaid wife Emma A Clayton and her heirs

                                                                              And I do hereby appoint Joseph F Hitchcock of Warren in said county of Worcester sole executer[sic] of this my last Will and testament hereby revoking annulling and declaring void all former wills by me at any time heretofore made

                         John Clayton [signature]

                         Witnessed by A. G. Blodgett

                                              Augustus W. Gilbert

                                              Alfred A Gilbert


Sources:
1. Foskett family tree including descendants of Ephraim Crouch http://www.foskett-genealogy.co.uk/Trees/USA/f1289.html research by Marilyn Labbe, copyright Sandra Smith
2. Massachusetts Name Changes, 1780-1892, List of Persons Whose Names Have Been Changed in This Commonwealth,page 7980, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, Provo, Utah, 1998
3. Massachusetts, Vital Records, Brimfield, Brookfield, and West Brookfield
4. Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925, images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-41367-4383-85?cc=2102083&wc=9FG4-2NP:1055512501,1055515901 : accessed 18 Aug 2014), Worcester > Case no 12335-12432, Clark, William-Cleveland, Ellen M, 1731-1881 > image 208 of 1175; citing Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts.

52 Ancestors #26: Valentine G. Hewett - Will Transcription


Will of Valentine G. Hewett - Allowed June 20, 1876

Worcester County, Massachusetts Probate Case No. 29239
Vol. 455, Page 509
Be it remembered that I Valentine G. Hewett of West Brookfield, in the County of Worcester, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make and declare this my last Will and testament and dispose of my estate in the following manner.

First         I direct that so much of my real estate shall be sold as may be necessary for the payment of my just debts and Funeral charges.

Second    After the payment of said debts and charges, I give and bequeath to my wife Caroline A. Hewett the use and income of all the remainder of my estate real or personal during her lifetime.

Third        After the decease of my wife Caroline A Hewett I give and bequeath to my son Edward G Hewett, one hundred dollars, to be kept in the house of his brother George H. Hewett, and paid to him or his family in such sums and such time as they may need for their benefit and comfort.

Fourth      I hereby direct that the remainder of my estate real or personal to be equally divided between my sons George H. Hewett, Charles F. Hewett, and my daughters Elvira Barnes, Mary A. Batcheller, and Adie A. Aldrich, or their heirs or assigns.

Fifth         I hereby appoint my son George H. Hewett the executor of this last will and testament.

 

                In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, in the presence of these Witness named below, this twelfth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy six

                                                                                     Valentine G. Hewett

Signed. sealed and declared by the above named Valentine G. Hewett, to be his last Will and testament, in our presence who in his presence and at his request, and in the presence of each other we have signed our names as witnesses.

                                                                                    Horace G. Rawson

                                                                                    John R. Tomblen

                                                                                    Elizabeth C. Rawson


   Northbridge, Massachusetts vital records include the birth of Valentine G. Hewet, son of Eli and Betsey, born June 16, 1816.  [Other records show birth place as Douglas or East Douglas, MA].  His marriage to Caroline A. Morey of Grafton on July, 1836 was recorded in Sutton, MA.  Six known children were born to Valentine and Caroline, and all are mentioned in his Will.
  Valentine and Caroline came to West Brookfield from Sutton, probably in 1869, when Valentine purchased three acres of land with buildings in the village of West Brookfield, from Onslow P. Maynard. [Worcester County Deed Book 803, pages 361 and 362.]
   Valentine, died of Consumption on May 15, 1876, at his home in West Brookfield.


Source:
Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925, images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-46173-3154-87?cc=2102083&wc=9BXV-GP8:1055512501,1292497701 : accessed 13 Aug 2014), Worcester > Case no 29178-29256, Hearsey, Ellen A-Hicks, David, 1731-1881 > image 1061 of 1234; citing Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

52 Ancestors #25: Philip Harrington- A quitclaim lists heirs

   Philip Harrington was born in Ireland about 1813, son of Daniel Harrington and Hannah Scanlon.  He married Julia Shea.  The couple lived and farmed in West Brookfield, Massachusetts by 1850, and fourteen children were born to them there.  Philip died Feb. 7, 1889 in West Brookfield, and is buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery.
   This quitclaim found at http://www.masslandrecords.com is important because it lists Philip's living heirs, their spouses, and their places of residence.  I had lost track of son Timothy, and was able to find him using information in the document.

Margaret Shea to Julia Harrington - Quitclaim property on Milk Street, West Brookfield, MA, Worcester County Deed Book 1313, Pages 472 - 474
   Know all men by these presents that we, Margaret Shea, and Timothy Harrington of Springfield, and Kate Gallivan, Hannah Harrington, Julia Shea, Eliza Donovan, Nellie Morgan and Philip Harrington, of West Brookfield, and all in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in consideration of One dollar, and other valuable consideration to us paid by Julia Harrinton of West Brookfield in the County of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby remise, release and forever quitclaim unto the said Julia Harrington her heirs and assigns, a certain tract of land with the buildings thereon standing, situated on the Westerly side of Milk street and near the Boston and Albany Railroad crossing in West Brookfield aforesaid, bounded and described as follows, to wit: on the East by Milk street aforesaid, on the South by Quaboag River, on the West by land formerly owned by Edmond O'Day and on the North by land of the Boston and Albany Railroad Company, and land of Joseph E. Waite, and being the same premises described in a certain deed given by William Cady to Philip Harrington, dated September Fourteenth A. D. 1882, and recorded with Worcester District Deeds, Libro 1126, folio 455 to which deed and the record therof references is hereby made for a more full description of the premises hereby conveyed. Also all our right, title, and interest in and to any and all of the personal property belonging to the estate of Philip Harrington, late of said West Brookfield deceased. [ blank space ] To have and to hold the granted premises, with all the privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging to the said Julia Harrington and her heirs and assigns to their own use and behoof forever. And we do hereby, for ourselves, and out heirs, executors and administrators, covenant with the said grantee and her heirs and assigns that the granted premises are free from all encumbrances made or suffered by us and that we will and our heirs, executors and administrators shall warrant and defend the same to the said grantee and her heirs and assigns forever against the lawful claims and demands of all persons claiming by, through or under us but against none other. And for the consideration aforesaid, we, John Shea, husband of Margaret Shea, John T. Gallivan, husband of Kate Gallivan, Michael Shea, husband of Julia Shea, John Morgan, husband of Nellie Morgan, and J. S. Donovan, husband of Eliza Donovan, do hereby release unto the said grantee and her heirs and assigns all right of or to both dower[?] and homestead or right by curtsy in the granted premise.
  The document was signed and witnessed by some family members on September 10, 1889.  It appears that others may have signed later.


Worcester County Deed Book 1313, Page 473

Worcester County Deed Book 1313, Page 174


  I have transcribed most of the document using a free program called Transcript, available from http://www.jacobboerema.nl/en/freeware.htm 
What a great timesaver!

Monday, July 14, 2014

52 Ancestors #24 - From the Probate File of Samuel Bliss of Brookfield

Terms of Samuel's Last Will and Testament dated March 28, 1842

1. To  wife Mary Bliss the use and improvement of one undivided third part of my home farm during her natural life
2. To son David Bliss I give and devise my home farm, my farming tools, my household furniture, and all my stock of cattle on the same, wood lot of ten acres in the South Parish of Brookfield purchased from Seth Watkins, after deducting what I have given my wife.  Also a note of hand held against Dea. Alfred White. This was given upon the condition that David give three hundred dollars to the children of Mary Rogers, Samuel's daughter, and that he provide his mother with whatever sum of money and support she might need in addition to her third of the farm. [Bliss Genealogy lists children of Mary and Samuel Rogers as Samuel, Charles, George, Eli, and Mary.]
3, To son Samuel Bliss - the farm on which he resides partly in Warren and partly in Brookfield - 75 acres more or less.  This was given on the condition that he give to the children of Samuel's late daughter Sarah Rogers, the late wife of Benjamin Rogers, the sum of four hundred dollars to be divided in equal shares and given to each of them at age 21. [Bliss Genealogy lists children of Sarah and Benjamin Rogers as Sarah, Harriet, William, and Benjamin.]  William was later known as William E. Gilbert, the subject of Last Weeks Post.
4. To son Levi Bliss the residue of the farm purchased from Seth Watkins in the South parish of Brookfield containing about 70 acres.
5. To daughter Mary Rogers - $25 to be paid by executor
Executors named were sons David and Samuel.

Appointment of Jesse Bliss, Esquire as guardian ad litum for the minor children of Benjamin Rogers - grandchildren of Samuel - May 10, 1842


Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1881, images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-37411-8140-82?cc=2102083&wc=9FGW-YWL:1055512501,1055534101 : accessed 14 Jul 2014), Worcester > Case no 5997-6066, Bliss, Issac-Blood, Eliza A, 1731-1881 > images 375 and 377 of 1259; citing Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts.
Title: Genealogy of the Bliss family in America, from about the year 1550-1880
Publisher: Boston, Mass., Printed by the author
Contributor: Boston Public Library
http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/john-homer-bliss/genealogy-of-the-bliss-family-in-america-from-about-the-year-1550-1880-sil/page-18-genealogy-of-the-bliss-family-in-america-from-about-the-year-1550-1880-sil.shtml





Tuesday, July 8, 2014

52 Ancestors #23: William E. Gilbert - Born William Edwin Rogers

   Recently I came across the a 1911 death record recorded in Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts for William E. Gilbert.  As I began  to cite the record in my database, I was surprised to find that the name of his father was written on this record as B. Franklin Rogers (sic) who had been born in Holden.  B. Franklin Rogers  ??? 
   My database showed that name as Benjamin Rogers Gilbert, and I had used the marriage record of William E. Gilbert and Henrietta Pepper as a source.  I immediately went back to the source as found on Americanancestors.org.  Sure enough, I had made an error by making the assumption that the last name Gilbert had been left off the record.  Had I looked carefully at the other records on the page, I would have realized that the last names of all the fathers on that page were listed.
  Now I had some new questions.  Why and when did William's last name become Gilbert?  To date, I have been unable to answer either of those questions.  My theory is that William's parents died when William was a young boy and perhaps he was adopted by one of the Gilberts in town.
  Using pre 1850 vital records from Brookfield and Holden, and later records from West Brookfield, and Brimfield I have found the following:
   1. Benjamin Rogers and Sarah Bliss Marriage intentions in Brookfield on Mar. 28, 1830, and in Holden on March 31, 1830.  [A Bliss genealogy says they married in May 1830.]  Sarah Bliss was William E. Gilbert's mother's name according to his death record.
  2. Birth of William Edwin Rogers on July 5, 1836. [Death record of William E. Gilbert says born West Brookfield on July 5, 1833] West Brookfield was a part of Brookfield until 1848.  This is probably the birth record for the man known as William E. Gilbert.
  3. Death of Sarah Rogers, wife of Benjamin on March 3, 1842. [Brookfield VR]  Mother of William E. Gilbert
  4. I have not positively identified either William Rogers or William E. Gilbert in the 1850 U.S. or 1855 Massachusetts Census
  5. 1858 Marriage record of William E. Gilbert and Henrietta Pepper
   I have not found evidence that William ever lived with a Gilbert family,  and need to find probate court records, not yet online.
   I have discovered a number of new facts about William E. Gilbert in other records, including a record of William's 2nd marriage, the last will and testament of his grandfather, Samuel Bliss, which mentions the children of his late daughter Sarah, wife of Benjamin Rogers. Masslandrecords.com has quitclaim deed where Benjamin F. Rogers of Paxton, relinquishes to William E. Gilbert, his claim on land previously owned by his uncle, David Bliss.  I also found information in two published family genealogies. One was a genealogy of his mother's Bliss family, and the other, a genealogy of the Gleason family  which he married into twice. 
  I know from Samuel Bliss' will, that Sarah Bliss Rogers had a sister who married the brother of Benjamin F. Rogers.  I also know that William Edwin Rogers had a brother named Benjamin F. Rogers.  I have yet to determine which one signed the quitclaim deed.
  I know that William's third wife, Desdemona Bump, was the niece of his second wife, Susan Gleason.  I have been unable to find an official record of the third marriage in MA.
  I am now left with a great deal more work to do on the Gleason and Bliss families, both of whom lived in Brookfield and West Brookfield for many generations, and I still have not found when or why William Edwin Rogers became William E. Gilbert.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

52 Ancestors #22: Rev. Samuel Dunham - 12th pastor of West Brookfield Congregational Church

  

From Google Books


 Samuel Dunham was born in Southington, Hartford, Connecticut on Feb. 8, 1835, son of Chauncey, and Sylvia (Langdon) Dunham.  He prepared for college at Lewis Academy in Southington, and graduated from Yale in the class of 1860.  After graduating from Yale, he attended Union Theological Seminary in New York for two years, and graduated from Andover, Massachusetts Theological Seminary in August 1863.  Samuel married Sarah Maria Clark in Harwinton, Litchfield, Connecticut on Oct. 6, 1863.
   Mr. Dunham began to preach in the West Brookfield Congregational Church (known previously as the First Church of Brookfield) in April 1863, a few months prior to his graduation from Andover Theological Seminary.  He was called to serve as the regular pastor in West Brookfield in March of 1864, and was ordained there on Oct. 4, 1864.  Rev. Dunham and his wife Sarah served the West Brookfield parish for more that seven years.  Their first two children were born in town.  Samuel Clark Dunham, born in 1866, and Clara Langdon Dunham, born 1869 and died 1870.   The church celebrated its150th anniversary with commemorative ceremonies, speeches and celebrations. On Oct. 12, 1870 Rev. Dunham was dismissed at his own request, citing "ill health," and moved to Norwalk, CT. 
  Rev. Dunham served for two years in Norwalk.  He and Sarah welcomed a son, Chauncey Wilson there in 1871.  The family moved to Binghamton, NY in 1873, when Samuel was appointed pastor of the West Presbyterian Church there. He served actively in that capacity until December 1901, when he retired and became the pastor emeritus.
During the years in Binghamton, sons Chauncey and Samuel had died, another son, Luther Langdon Dunham was born about 1875, and died in 1893, and sadly, Samuel's wife Sarah died in 1894.  Samuel married Robertha McLeod on Dec.. 10, 1901.  She was more that thirty years his junior.  Samuel died at home in Binghamton on Dec. 4, 1936, at the age of 101.  He was buried in Glenwood Cemetery.  Robertha died in 1944.


Sources;
1. In loving memory of Mrs. Sarah M. (Clark) Dunham, wife of Rev. Samuel Dunham, pastor of the West Presbyterian Church, of Binghamton, N.Y., died April 9, 1894 (Archive.org)
2. Matrimony Notice for Mr. Samuel Dunham and Miss Sarah Maria Clark (Genealogybank.com)
3. Retrospect of a Happy Ministry: The Life Story of Half a Century, Including Personal Reminiscences, and a Complete History from Its First Inception of the West Presbyterian Church, Binghamton, N.Y. (Google eBook)
4. Samuel Dunham Dies in New York, 101(Genealogybank.com)
5. Vital Records of West Brookfield, MA 1841-1910 (Americanancestors.org)




 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

52 Ancestors #21: Mary Abbott - Not the daughter of James Abbott and Azuba Ruggles

  Many online trees which include the West Brookfield, Massachusetts family of James Abbott and his wife Azuba (Ruggles) Abbott, have a supposed fourth child named Mary.  I, too, noticed Mary, aged five, living in the household at the time of the 1850 United States census, and found it curious that I had not found her birth record in Brookfield vital records, and that she had not been mentioned in the wills of James or Azuba.  Descendants of George Abbott, of Rowley, Mass ..., did not include Mary with the family, even though the information for that family was contributed by James and Azuba's daughter Eliza. I also calculated that Azuba Abbott would have been about 48 years of age at the time of Mary's birth. 
   I did find, upon further investigation, that Mary Abbott married Jason Stoddard in West Brookfield on Oct. 30, 1868 at the age of 22.  Her birth place was recorded in the marriage record, as Hartford, Ct, and her parents were named, as John and Frances Parks. At first, I interpreted this to mean John Abbott and Frances (Parks), but after comparing this record with the others on the page, I realized that the other records included only the first names of the parents.  There were no parentheses around the name Parks.  Did this mean the parents were John Parks, and his wife Frances?
   Mary A. Stoddard died in North Brookfield, MA, on Dec. 10, 1889, of consumption, at age 45years, 3 months, and 15 days.  According to her death record, she was born in Hartford, Ct., was adopted by Eliza Abbott, and her parents were unknown.
   Who were Mary Abbott's parents?  I am not certain.  I have not found a birth record, for Mary Parks or Mary Abbott, born about 1845 in Hartford, CT, nor have I identified the John and Frances Parks named in the marriage record of Mary Abbott and Jason Stoddard.
  Where then, does Mary belong in the family tree?  She was not named at all in the wills of James or Azubah, even though she was enumerated in their household in 1850 and 1860.  Eliza Abbott was seventeen at the time of the 1850 census, old enough to have given birth to a child, but probably not old enough to have adopted one. She would have been just 12 years old when Mary was born.  Eliza outlived Mary by fourteen years, so there would most likely be no mention of Mary in Eliza's will (assuming she left one.)  My question remains as I ponder how to proceed in my quest for the best answer.
   How would you handle this dilemma?


Sources available upon request.  They include MA Vital Records found on Americanancestors.org, census records found on Ancestry.com, the wills of James Abbott and Azubah Abbott found at familysearch.org, Descendants of George Abbott, of Rowley, Mass ..., found on Archive.org