Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and hope this blog will help with that. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My Mayflower Ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, John Howland.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Luke Perkins 1666/67-1748 and Martha Conant 1664-1754

Luke Perkins was born in Charlestown, Mass., on 18 March 1666/67, the son of Luke and Hannah (Long) Perkins.

Luke married Martha Conant on 31 May 1688 in Salem.

Martha Conant was born in Beverly, Mass., in an area that once was Salem, on 15 August 1664, the daughter of Lot and Elizabeth (Walton) Conant. Martha was the granddaughter of Roger Conant, who founded the town of Salem, and the Reverand William Walton of Marblehead.
Statue of Roger Conant

I believe Luke and Martha had seven children:

1.      John born 05 April 1689 who married Mary Jackson and died at Plympton in 1728.
2.      Martha born 19 September 1691 who died young.
3.      Hannah born 12 March 1692/93.
4.      Luke born 17 September 1695.
5.      Mark who was baptized 30 April 1699, married Dorothy Whipple and died at Bridgewater 20 December 1756.
6.      Josiah who was baptized 16 Nov 1701, married Deborah Bennett and Rebecca Parker, was a Deacon in the church and Town Clerk, d. Plympton, 15 Oct 1789. 
7.      Martha born 14 August 1707, married Elisha Washburn and Jonathan Tilson, died after 12 February 1737/38.

I descend from their son Luke who married Ruth Cushman. I wrote about that couple in my last post here.
Like many men in his family, Luke Perkins was a blacksmith. He moved around a bit, presumably going to villages in need of a blacksmith.

On 24 November 1704, Luke and Martha Perkins, formerly of Beverly, now of Ipswich, sold John Filmore a house and barn and about two acres of land on the road from Wenham to Beverly near Wenham Pond in Beverly, which was formerly Lot Conant's. (Lot is Martha's father.) He was of Ipswich when he was named the administrator of his father Luke's Charlestown estate on 12 March 1712-13. In 1715 he was of Plympton when, as administrator of his father and mother's estate, he sold the old homestead in Charlestown.

Luke and Martha also lived in Marblehead and Wenham. Their marriage and children were recorded in multiple towns where they lived.

Luke Perkins died 27 December 1748 in Plympton, Mass., in his 82nd year. He is buried at the Old Burial Ground (aka Hillcrest Cemetery).
Luke Perkins' gravestone

In Memory of Mr. Luke Perkins
Who Dec'd December ye 27th 1748
in ye 89th* year of his age

*Luke was actually 81 years of age.

Martha Conant Perkins died 02 January 1754 at Plympton. She is buried next to her husband.
Martha's gravestone, partially sunken into the ground

In Memory of Mrs. Martha Perkins
Wife of Mr. Luke Perkins
Who Decd January ye 2nd 1754
in ye 90th year of Her Age

View of Luke, Martha and possible son Luke's gravestones


Sources Not Listed Above:
Paul Stanton Bumpus, "Ruth Perkins, daughter of Ignatious of Freetown, Mass..." MQ September 2006

Joseph W. Porter, "An Account of Part of the Family of Abraham Perkins of Hampton NH, who lived in Plymouth County, Mass.," NEHGR, Vol. 50, 1896

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Luke Perkins 1695 - ? and Ruth Cushman 1700 - ?

 
Luke Perkins was born 17 September 1695 in Beverly, Massachusetts, the son of Luke and Martha (Conant) Perkins. Luke grew up in Kingston and then his family relocated. Some sources say they went to Bridgewater but others say Wrentham, where a Luke Perkins was a blacksmith. Luke and his father were both blacksmiths.

Luke married Ruth Cushman at Plympton on 28 Jan 1716/17. She was born Plymouth 25 March 1700, the daughter of Robert and Persis (Lewis) Cushman. Ruth was of Kingston at the time of their marriage.

Luke and Ruth had three children recorded in Plympton:

Ignatius, born 15 July 1720, lived in Wrentham and Freetown.
Hannah, born 2 May 1723, m. Capt. Nathaniel Shaw of Carver 10 May 1739. She d. 2 May 1802.
Mary, b. 28 June 1726.

I descend through their son Ignatious who married Keziah Davis.

There also is a Luke Perkins who came to Bridgewater from Ipswich and was the son of this Luke or his brother John.

Luke appears many times in Plymouth Court Records, often as the defendant. In 1720 through 1739 he was of Plympton. In 1739-1742 he was of Middleboro.

In 1720-21: Edmund Tilson (Plymouth Blacksmith) vs. Robert Cushman (Plymouth Husbandman) and Luke Perkins Jr. (Blacksmith). Debt on bond for 100 pounds. Cushman pleaded in abatement that his estate was not attached as the law requires. Abated. Taxed at 1 pound 3 shillings 8 pence.

In 1724/5: Luke Perkins Jr. (Plimton Blacksmith) by atty Elkanah (Leonard) v. Timothy Barden (Middleboro Joyner). Case on note payable 10 Feb 1724/25 for 5 pounds 10 shillings. Default by defendant. Judgment for 5 pounds 10 shillings and costs of 2 pounds 5 shillings.

In 1728: Luke Perkins (Plympton Blacksmith) vs. Thomas Slack or Stack late of Plympton now of Attleborough, bloomer, debt on bond dated 21 Jan 1726/27 for 72 pounds. Default by defendant. Bond chancered. Judgment for 40 pounds 9 shillings 2 pence and 3 pounds 6 shillings costs. Appealed by defendant.

1729: William Randall (Rochester Husbandman) vs. Luke Perkins Jr. (Plympton Blacksmith) case, on bill dated 17 Feb 1729. For 5 pounds 15 shillings. Default by defendant.

1737: Isaac Lothrope Jr. vs. John Shurtleff (Plympton yeoman). Case on book account for 35 pounds 15 shillings 6 pence. On demand for plaintiffs damage of 60 pounds. Default by dft. Judgment for full amount and 2 pounds 4 shillings 6 pence costs. Appealed by deft with Luke Perkins Jr. (Plympton Blacksmith) and Thomas Harlow as sureties.

1738: Robert Brown Esq (Plymouth) v. Luke Perkins (Plympton Blacksmith) by Attny Elkanah Leonard case on 3 week note dated 20 Dec 1737 for 36 pounds. To pltfs damage of 60 pounds. Default by deft. Judgment 36 pounds 18 shillings 8 pence plus costs. Appealed by deft.

1738/9: Samuel Thatcher (Middleboro Dealer) v. Luke Perkins Jr. (Plympton Blacksmith or Nailer). Case, on book account for 11 pounds 14 shillings. Withdrawn. Costs for deft taxed 23 shillings 9 pence.

1739: Peleg Barrow (Plympton Yeoman) v. Luke Perkins Jr. (Middleboro Blacksmith). Nonsuit. Costs for deft. 19 shillings 6 pence.

1739: Christopher Turner (Dartmouth Yeoman) v. Luke Perkins Jr. (Plympton Blacksmith). Case continued, pltf did not appear. Costs for deft. Taxed at 2 pounds 14 shillings 6 pence.

1739/40: Joseph Thomas Esq (Plympton) v. Luke Perkins (Middleboro or Plympton Blacksmith) by Atty James Otis Esq Debt on bond dated 19 Feb 1738. Jury for plntf 18 pounds. Appealed by deft.

1739/40: Lothrop vs. Luke Perkins Jr. (Middleborough Blacksmith) for 3 pounds 15 shillings 5 pence. Default by deft.

1740: Abiel Leach (Middleboro Yeoman) v. Luke Perkins (Middleboro Blacksmith) 2 pounds 17 shillings 6 pence. Default by deft.

1740: Samuel Bartlet Esq v. Luke Perkins Jr. (Middleboro Blacksmith) by Attny Otis Little for 18 pounds. Default by deft. Judgment for 10 pounds plus. Appeale by deft.

1741: John Bishop (Plympton Bloomer) v. Luke Perkins Jr. (Middleboro Blacksmith) for 2 pounds 6 shillings 3 pence. Default by deft. Judgment for full amount plus expenses.

1742: Joseph Leonard (Middleboro Husbandman) v. Luke Perkins (Middleboro Husbandman) on note dated 15 May 1740 for 13 pounds in “decknails.” Default by deft. Judgment for 3 pounds 5 shillings plus costs.

1742: Joseph Sutten (Charlestown Leather Dresser) v. Luke Perkins (Middleboro Blacksmith) for 33 pounds 9 shillings. Default by deft. Judgment 16 shillings 3 pence plus costs. 

Luke Perkins, blacksmith, of Wrentham, mortgaged 30 may 1755 to Thomas Arnold of Smithfield, Rhode Island, real estate, blacksmith shop and tools in Wrentham, for 14 pounds, 11 shillings. (Suffolk Records) It seems like this is "my" Luke Perkins, as his family has a connection with this town and he was a blacksmith. 

A colonial blacksmith was a respected tradesman in his community, as he was responsible for creating and maintaining the tools and other items utilized by almost all the other tradesmen, as well as for households and farms. He practiced his craft in his workshop to turn raw metal, such as iron and steel, into functional items like horseshoes, farming hoes, kettles, and barrel supports. This required years of training. From what I've read, it wasn't unusual for blacksmiths to move to where the best demand was for a blacksmith.


The interior of the newly reconstructed Anderson's Blacksmith Shop and Public Armoury.
Later reproduction of a blacksmith shop, Colonial Williamsburg



 
He may be buried at the Old Burial Ground in Plympton with his parents. There is a broken stone propped up behind Luke and Martha Perkins' stones that is engraved "Luke Perkins" but no dates visible.
Possibly Luke's gravestone, Plympton, Mass.

I'd love to hear from anyone who knows more about Luke and Ruth! 

Source not listed above:
"An Account of Part of the Family of Abraham Perkins of Hampton NH, who lived in Plymouth County, Mass.," by Joseph W. Porter, NEHGS, Vol. 50, page 34-40, 1896

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mildred Louise Booth Rollins 1917-1999

For my Mother’s Day post, I thought I’d write about my late grandmother, Mildred (Milly) Booth Rollins, whom we called Nanny, especially since her birthday is this week as well.

Nanny was absolutely my favorite person on the planet, and I miss her dearly. She had such a huge impact on my life—she wasn’t able to be the best mother in the world but she sure was a special grandmother!

She was born in West Dennis, Mass. on 15 May 1917, the daughter of Wallace and Ethel (Kelley) Booth. Wallace was from Quebec of Anglo-Irish heritage. Despite Ethel’s Irish last name, she had deep Cape Cod roots with her ancestors founding all the original towns there and several coming over on the Mayflower.
Milly with her brother Cedric ca 1918

Milly was raised mostly in Brockton, Mass., in a house her father built, but during hard economic times her family lived at the Ferry Street, West Dennis home of her grandparents, David and Mary Ann (Kelley) Kelley. Nanny told me how her mother couldn’t wait to leave “backwards” Cape Cod, so she didn’t enjoy staying there. But Ethel loved her family beyond all else, so I would imagine spending a lot of time with her parents had its upside.
House Wallace Booth built in Brockton

Nanny said she loved living on the Cape. She adored the ocean and the Ferry Street land ended at the Bass River where her grandfather had a fishing shanty and small boats. They had chickens and an orchard in the yard. She didn’t mind the lack of amenities as a child. It felt like an adventure to sleep in the roughly finished attic of the Cape Cod style home where her job was to trim the wicks of the oil lamps each morning and refill them with kerosene. Nanny remembered the horse-drawn ice truck coming around and selling blocks of ice to keep the food in the ice chest cool. Her grandparents were resistant to installing indoor plumbing and electricity, but their children finally insisted on it.
Ferry Street, West Dennis house where Milly was born

It was Nanny’s stories about the Cape that really sparked my interest in family history and she loved hearing about my discoveries, even the “skeletons” that many people of her generation would have preferred to stay in the closet.

Excepting the years of the Depression, Wallace Booth provided well for his family. He always drove a Cadillac, and he liked to be the first on his block to have any new home invention, like a dishwasher. They frequently traveled to Florida in the winter and to Canada and Vermont to visit his family. Wallace and Ethel were devout Christians and members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (RLDS). Nanny did not share their depth of religious beliefs, and she resented not be able to wear a bathing suit or go to dances like the other girls did.

Nanny was a very beautiful young woman. She had brown hair worn in the latest style, trendy clothes and a gorgeous smile. As she grew older and became inactive she gained a lot of weight, but she was still very pretty. No matter how badly she felt, she was never without red polish on her fingers and toes.
Photo of Milly that Al carried in his wallet (he also carried the silver leaves from their wedding cake)

When she was a teenager, her parents’ marriage faltered and they were separated (although they would reunite and always seemed to have a strong marriage). Her mother lived in a house in Hyannis with her three children and took in borders to make ends meet. Nanny was miserable—she had to do a tremendous amount of household chores and some of the men made sexual advances toward her.

This unhappiness at home likely led her to be swept off her feet by Arthur "Art" Davis, a young man four years older who was from Falmouth. (He was born Arthur Washburn but took the surname of his step-Aunt and Uncle who raised him.) Arthur was handsome, personable and seemed so mature to 15 year-old Milly. He worked and had plenty of spending money and took her places in his car or on his motorcycle. He was athletic and had been a competitive swimmer. Nanny said she also got along famously with his step-Aunt Grace (Ellis) Davis and that the family was quite comfortable financially and very welcoming to her. They were church going people, but their household wasn’t nearly as religious as the Booth one.
Art Davis

Milly became pregnant and her father insisted on them being married and they did so in Ayer, Mass., on 23 September 1933. I have never figured out what connection either family had with Ayer.

At age 16, Milly gave birth to my father, Robert Davis, on 26 March 1934 in Somerville, Mass. His last name was later changed to Rollins when Milly’s second husband adopted him. There were complications during the home delivery leading to a hysterectomy, so she was unable to have additional children.

Milly quickly realized the mistake she had made in her marriage. Arthur wasn’t so charming as a young husband and father—he drank and had violent outbursts. He also had trouble holding down a job and Milly had couldn’t afford to buy much food. They were living somewhere on the Cape and her parents came down and were shocked to see the conditions their daughter and grandson were living in—no decent food to be seen and Milly had bruises from Arthur’s violent rages. They packed up their meager belongings, and took Milly and Bob to Somerville to live with them. Eventually Milly and Arthur were divorced.
Milly and son Bob 1934

Milly went to school to become a hair dresser, and Ethel watched her grandson Bob while Milly went to school and then worked. She also went out evenings with friends and on dates, so her parents had a large role in raising their grandson.

After Nanny’s death, I met some of her first cousins at a Booth family reunion. They were such lovely people and very welcoming. Her cousin Pearl said that she loved spending time with Milly when they were kids because she was so much fun; always up for an adventure on the Vermont farm where Pearl lived.

On 22 January 1942, Milly married the most wonderful man, Alfred Addison Rollins, who was from Dorchester. He was handsome and very loving and attentive. They dated off and on for years before they were married. Al, whom I called Gagi, served in the Air Force on the front lines in World War II. He loved my father and signed the papers to adopt him when he was overseas.
Alfred Rollins 1944

I’ve never witnessed anyone as much in love with someone as Gagi was with Nanny. He called her nicknames like “Peach Blossom” and “My Bride.” She’d pretend to be annoyed with him and tell him to stop acting like a fool, but she loved him too. After they both died, I found all these slips of paper--little notes and poems he’d leave for her to find around the house. Nanny had kept them all.
One of the notes from Gagi

It touches me that Gagi married Nanny knowing they would not have children together.  In the 1950s they were foster parents to Steven and Richie Block, who eventually reunited with their father. Millie kept pictures of them and other items, such as Steven's 1958 Boston University application and Richie’s 7th Grade report card from Concord Junior High. Steven played the drums in a musical combo while at Concord High, worked as bus boy, bell hop and dishwasher at the Colonial Inn. He was interested in BU’s school of Fine and Applied Arts and wanted to be cartoon or commercial artist. Milly also saved some Mother's Day and Christmas cards they gave her.

Before they bought the Onset house, Nanny, Gagi and my Dad would vacation throughout New England. They loved to jump in the car and drive to new places, most of which were on the ocean or a lake.
Milly and Bob at Newfound Lake, NH

Nanny and Gagi had a nice life together and did a lot with the money he made as a truck driver. They lived in Concord, then Lexington in the same neighborhood where we lived (both were Cape Cod style homes). At times they had apartments in Boston and elsewhere, splitting time between an apartment and their ocean front home in Onset on the Cape Cod Canal. Eventually they stayed in Onset year round.
Cove-side view of the Onset House on Sias Point

That summer house was my favorite place and looms large in my childhood memories. The house wasn’t much to look at but the location was sublime. The fresh sea air, the combination of the warmth of the sun and the constant breezes, the sound of the ocean and the sight of boats going through the Canal equaled nirvana for me. They had a very large private beach—one side facing the Canal and the other a quiet cove. My sister, Beth, and I spent hours each day in the water and on the beach. 
View from the house toward Wicket's Island. We loved playing on the rock exposed at low tide.
View from the Canal side of the house

We would bring our cabin cruiser boat down for visits, either moored off Nanny’s beach or at a nearby yacht club. We could watch the Onset fireworks from the patio on each 4th of July. We’d take the boat to see other fireworks in different towns as well.
Nanny in her element--on board our boat the Sanderling 1965

I don’t think anyone loved being out on the boat more than Nanny, something she passed on to my father and to me. We always said we had salt-water in our veins, which makes sense since I’ve found many mariners in our family history. Nanny was the kind of women who wasn’t bothered by things like many of us are—she loved fishing and was the one who helped me bait my hook because I found the worms “gross” and she gutted and cleaned the fish without batting an eye. She was not the least bit squeamish.
Nanny at the helm of the Sanderling

In addition to the fish we caught, we often ate lobster and Nanny would make clam chowder or stuffed clams with the clams and quahogs we dug. Sometimes Beth and I would play with the lobsters on the floor before they were plunged into the boiling water—that could be one of the reasons Beth became a vegetarian!
Gagi, Beth and I 1967

Unfortunately as she grew older she and Gagi became reclusive and became estranged from many family members and friends. She was always good to her parents, though, and she renovated one side of her house for them to live with her when they were aged.She then took in my father when he was sick with Parkinson's Disease.

Nanny had health problems, particularly issues with her heart, and clearly suffered from depression, although she never was in therapy or received a diagnosis. She and Gagi both drank too much, but when they were younger that was what most people in their circle were doing. They sure knew how to throw a party at their beach house or on the boat. As they got older it became more of a problem and took its toll on their health.

The house and boats were also chocked full of dogs, another love everyone in our family shares. Nanny and Gagi were partial to Dalmatians—some of them were high strung, living up to the breed’s reputation, but some of them were wonderful. They usually had three dogs at a time, so there were a lot of them over the years, but my favorites were Josie and Aggie. Nanny loved to tell the story of how she took me to the breeders to see Josie. She was in a pen and no one was home. She had the sweetest face imaginable and a birth defect I adored—a crook in her tale. I begged Nanny to slip the check under the door and just take her with us then and there!
Josie

In addition to the “Dallies,” they occasionally had other breeds of dogs. They had a terrier, Ronnie, and then a Boxer named Major when my Dad was young. There was a Cocker Spaniel named Sandy who was stolen and never found and a miniature Poodle named Muffin who was left behind by one of their tenants. After Nanny died, we took Muffin home with us. She was the sweetest thing but quite old herself. One day she her breath was laboring and she was laying under a tree in our yard. I carried her into the house and called the vet, but she died as I was getting ready to take her to likely be put to sleep. She’s buried in our yard, next to our beloved Chocolate Lab, Beau.

Another passion of Nanny’s that I share is home decorating. We would spend so much time talking about home design and antiques. As she got older she had way too much stuff in her house, so all the nice things she had weren’t as noticeable. We would poke fun at her for not being able to throw things away. A set of broken outdoor metal furniture wouldn’t be thrown out and she told us they’d look fine with seat cushions on it. She didn’t listen to the fact that if anyone sat on said cushion, they’d fall through and suffer some scrapes in the process!

I would always give her a Country Living magazine subscription as a gift and we’d talk about everything we liked in the magazine. She subscribed to Better Homes and Gardens for years and after she read them, she’d pass them onto me. I still subscribe to both magazines and think of her as I read them. I especially notice how many things in them she did before anyone else was—she would buy antique bureaus and have bathroom sinks put in them in all of her bathrooms, she painted and “antiqued” furniture which is popular again today, she electrified old oil lamps, crocks and pitchers to make unique lamps.  
Milly and Chippy at their Concord House, showing her Asian phase of decorating

I have some of her things, although sadly my father sold or gave away much of her furniture and collectibles when he sold the Onset house. Our master bathroom is a definite “ode to Nanny” as it contains her marble topped commode, her pitcher and basin, various vintage perfume bottles, botanical prints she had that I framed, her small mirror with a marble base, her partial set of a china dresser set, an antique medicine cabinet she never used that I stripped and added a new mirror, a unique antique mirror that has lost its silvering, the beautiful flow-blue slop pail she saved from her sister-in-law Elsie’s zealous housekeeping which had already broken the lid and gave it multiple chips. I even have her ancient Christmas Cactus under the window. I know she’d love the pedestal sink and Toile wallpaper I chose.

Nanny and Gagi also loved gardening and until age and illness slowed them down, their yard was gorgeous. Nanny even sunk a kiddie pool in the ground where we put small fish in the summer and it surrounded by flowers and a cute bench she made from an old marble counter.
An example of Nanny's green thumb and creativity

Nanny and my mother were incredibly close until my parents divorced in 1988. She had a huge impact on my mother for the same reasons she did on me. She was so creative, interesting and told such great stories. She was warm, generous and loving to the people she cared about and that included my Mom. She knew her own son had some issues so she was thrilled he married such a nice girl from a good family. She even had an impact on my other grandmother who decorated her house just like Milly’s, even buying some of her furniture when she was changing things up. All three of them loved the Early American style of decorating, but Nanny went through other phases like leaning towards Asian decor. If Nanny was out shopping for household items, she’d often pick something up for my Mother as well, so they had some of the same things in their homes.

From the time I was small, Nanny talked and listened to me like I was a grown up and made me feel important, and that’s the way she made my Mom feel as well. Mom was from a family of four kids, but Nanny made her feel so special. Milly finally had a daughter!

When Beth and I were kids, Nanny made Christmas magical for us. We were showered with gifts and attention. Nanny loved dolls, so I received paper dolls, baby dolls, Little Kiddle dolls and later Dawn Dolls and Barbies. She always gave Beth and me new nightgowns as well. They would be identical except that Beth’s would always be pink and mine would be blue.
Beth and me at Nanny's. I'm wearing a Little Kiddle Pendant she gave me

The beach house was so quiet in the winter. You could hear any sounds travel across the water in winter, sounds that would have just blend with the hum of noise over the summer.  If someone yelled on one of the nearby islands, it was like they were in the yard. Walking on the deserted beach, all bundled up and looking for treasures that might have washed ashore was so special. There was also a fire in the fireplace in the cold weather (Nanny called Gagi a “firebug” and was thrilled my husband Dave was the same way) and we often toasted marshmallows in it year round. Beth had the patience to make hers nice and evenly brown, but I tended to rush and burn mine.

I remember often crying when it came time to leave—I didn’t want to leave my grandparents or that magical place. I also always felt like they needed us so much. I hated leaving them so very much alone.

We also saw a lot of wild storms at the house. Once the flooding was so bad that instead of being surrounded by water on three sides, the house was completely surrounded. Nanny and Gagi never wanted to leave the house, though, surviving many storms. I always felt excited by the storms; another thing Nanny passed on to me. One of her nicknames was “Hurricane Milly.” It was crazy seeing all the damage after the storm passed. Houses on Onset Island literally washed out to sea, a boat left in the middle of the lawn, the ramp down to the beach washed away but a set of stairs left in almost the exact location. When they weren’t claimed, Dave installed them in place of the ramp. A large picnic table washed up on the beach once in a nice spot for picnics and it stayed there for years until another big storm reclaimed it.

On 9 February 1999, at age 81, Nanny died suddenly of an apparent heart attack. It was an incredibly sad time, as she was like a second mother to me, as well as a good friend. I hopped in Dave’s truck for the 1 ½ hour drive, so upset and worried that I didn’t take heed when the engine light came on, causing major engine problems.  

Beth came down the next day and we got silly driving around in Nanny’s big Cadillac. It’s so odd when I’m emotional, what a fine line it can be between crying and laughing. The funeral director was a small man with a noticeable limp whose name was Mr. Moose. Just introducing him to Beth made me even sillier. They probably thought we were heartless grandchildren who were getting some big inheritance! They remembered us from 8 years earlier when Gagi died and we came down with the cremated remains of their Dally Sparky who had also just died. Nanny insisted they be buried together, and I didn’t have the heart to disagree with her even though Gagi hated that dog! He had bitten him, which got infected and required a skin graft and hospitalization when he was already sick with lung cancer.

Nanny and Gagi (and Sparky) are buried at Agawam Cemetery in Wareham. It always struck the rest of us as morbid, but she loved that cemetery. They could have been buried free of charge at the National Cemetery in Bourne, but she wouldn’t consider it. Her parents and her brother and some of his family are buried there also. We didn’t know it at the time, but some of Art’s early ancestors are buried in the same cemetery. 
Rollins and Booth shared headstone at Agawam
I think about Nanny a lot in my day-to-day life. I wish she got to see my kids grow up. I wish she knew my three dogs. I would love to still talk to her about interior design. I wish she knew how many Mayflower and other interesting ancestors she had and that she and her first husband were distantly related. I wish I recorded some of our conversations about the past so I wouldn’t have to rely on my faulty memory.

I wish you were still here to celebrate Mother’s Day and and your Birthday, Nanny. You are missed!




Saturday, May 5, 2012

David Pierce (1773-before 1810) and Desire Nye (ca 1771-1858), Wareham, Mass.


David Pierce was born 22 June 1773 in Middleborough, Mass. (Middleborough VR as David Peirce), the son of Jesse Pierce and Ruth Perkins. Pierce is spelled in a variety of ways, including Peirce, Perse and Pearse.

On 8 October 1795 David married Desire Nye in Wareham, Mass (Records of the First Church of Wareham). David and Desire were both of Wareham at the time of their marriage intentions on 20 June 1795 (Wareham VR). Desire is sometimes spelled Desier, Deziah and Desiah.

Desire Nye was born about 1771, Wareham, Mass., the daughter of Jabez Nye and Mary/Molly Fuller. She was baptized on 18 April 1773 at Wareham (Records of the First Church of Wareham).
Wareham Congregational Church built 1770, burned 1904 (source: Images of America Wareham)

David and Desire had at least six children:

Salome born about 1799, married Hugh McManamon and Seth Snow, died after 1868
Ruth born 25 March 1800, married Jonathan Bumpus, died Wareham 7 May 1879
Mary Ann, born 10 August 1802, married David Harlow, died Wareham 25 May 1889
David, born about 1804
Lucy Nye, born Abt. October 1809, married Rowland Bumpus, Brownell Trip and Josiah Burnham, died Acushnet 29 June 1896
Otis, born about 1811, m. Hannah Bumpus, died1868 in Wareham

I haven’t found anything further on their son David. Perhaps he died young.

David died before 1810, when Desier Pierce is listed as head of household in the census.

Desire married, second, John Gibbs, son of John Gibbs and Deborah Doty, on 1 Oct 1820 at Wareham.

Desire died on 27 September 1858 at Wareham at age 87 years. Wareham Deaths 1856-93, page 4:  27 September 1858, Desiah Gibbs, born Wareham, d. and interred E. Wareham, age 87, old age, daughter of Jabez Nye, informant Galen Humphrey. 

Her death record would indicate Desire was buried at Agawam Cemetery, but if she had a stone it no longer exists.

Agawam Cemetery

As is the case with most of my Wareham families, I’ve found conflicting information on this family, so please consider this a work in progress!

Sources Not Listed Above:

Ebenezer W. Pierce, The Peirce Family, NEHGR in Jan., April, July 1867 and October 1868

Paul Bumpus, Ruth Perkins, daughter of Ignatious of Freetown MA...Mayflower Quarterly, Sept 2006

Col. Leonard H. Smith Jr. and Norma H. Smith, Records of the First Church of Wareham, MA, 1739-1891, 1974