Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and love that this blog helps with that. I consider much of my research as a work in progress, so please let me know if you have conflicting information. 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 male 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, and John Howland.
Female Mayflower ancestors: Mary Norris Allerton, Eleanor Billington, Mary Brewster, Mrs. James Chilton, Sarah Eaton, and Joan Hurst Tilley.
Child Mayflower ancestors: Giles Hopkins, (possibly) Constance Hopkins, Mary Allerton, Francis Billington, Love Brewster, Mary Chilton, Samuel Eaton, and Elizabeth Tilley.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Richard Chase 1715-1794, Dennis and Harwich MA

I find it interesting how many of my ancestors were not only deeply religious, but participated in “alternative” religions rather than following the majority. They were Separatists, Mormons, Quakers, Baptists, Methodists, and Newlighters. In early New England failing to support the established church could be damaging--people risked being fined or jailed for not paying the ministerial tax.

One of my ancestors with a strong religious bent was Richard Chase. He was pastor of the Harwich New Light and Baptist Churches.

Richard was born in Yarmouth (current day Dennis) on 3 March 1714/15, son of Thomas3 Chase (John2, William1 Chase) and Sarah Gowell, daughter of Richard1 Gowell.

On 21 January 1734/35, Richard married Thankful Berry at Harwich. Thankful was the daughter of Richard Berry and Rebecca Gray. They settled in Yarmouth (now Dennis) in the Sears neighborhood not far from Swan Pond.

Thankful had married first, in 1732, John Chase (son of John Chase and Sarah Hills) and they had one daughter, Mercy. John died in a fall from a horse before his only child Mercy was born.[i]
Richard and Thankful had 10 children: John, Samuel, Archelus, Berry, Richard, Rebecca, Thankful, Huldah, Abigail, and Phebe. All 10 children survived childhood, grew up and married. I descend through their son Samuel who married Zilpha Burgess. Zilpha was first married to Samuel’s brother John.

Richard and Thankful Chase were members of the New Light Church in the 1740s, where Joshua Nickerson was pastor and Richard served as a deacon. It was the first church of the denomination in Barnstable County and it caused considerable excitement and "a deal of discourse."  It admitted parishioners whether they were sprinkled at baptism (Congregational Church) or immersed as adults.[ii]

In 1751 a second church of the Separatists/Newlighters began in Harwich by members dismissed from Nickerson's church. Richard Chase of Yarmouth (now Dennis) was ordained pastor. Originally infants of members of the church were baptized. Richard eventually denounced infant baptism and the rite was abandoned, which caused a portion of the church council to censure him, which was later revoked.

On 29 September 1757 he formally gave up his commission as a New Light and was ordained as minister of the Baptist Church, an Anabaptist wing of the church. The Baptists were a no nonsense group. In 1757 four men were assigned to "take care of the Boys on Lord's Day and whip them if found playing."

On 31 March 1777, after almost 25 years of service, Richard was dismissed as pastor of the Baptist Church, due to disorderly conduct in his administration of the gospel. Maybe that’s code for displeasure with his Newlighter associations.  I’ve also read that he was dismissed for intemperance, but I’m not sure if there is substance to that theory.

According to Josiah Paine, Richard was not very gifted as a preacher.  His moral qualities were not so lofty or even so polished as the nature of the position he demanded.  Religiously inclined, he sought to lead, but failure was written on his banner, as his one desire as self conceit was so largely in his make up as to give discretion any power of bringing back a head strong bigot. Apparently not a fan of Richard! [iii]
I don’t have a deep understanding of 18th century religions in Massachusetts, but here is what I’ve gleaned in my bit of research. Toward the middle of the 18th century America experienced its first major religious revival with the period known as “The Awakening.” The supporters of The Awakening and its evangelical bent were Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists. They became the largest American Protestant denominations by the first decades of the 19th century. Opponents of The Awakening or those split by it--Anglicans, Quakers and Congregationalists--were left behind. The fundamental premise of evangelicalism is the conversion of individuals from a state of sin to a "new birth" through preaching of the Word.

The Awakening split the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches into supporters, called New Lights, and opponents, called the Old Lights.  Many New Lights became Separate Baptists. Baptists differed from other Protestant groups by offering baptism (by immersion) only to those who had undergone a conversion experience. Infants were excluded from the sacrament, which generated enormous controversy with other Christians.
Richard Chase's gravestone Old Baptist Church Cemetery, N. Harwich
Thankful Berry Chase's gravestone Old Baptist Church Cemetery, N. Harwich

Richard died in Harwich on 14 January, 1794 at the age of 80. He and his wife Thankful are buried at the Old Baptist Church Cemetery in N. Harwich. Thankful lived to age 93 and her stone is in fairly good condition, but Richard’s is badly crumbling. An issue of the Mayflower Descendant recorded the inscription before the stone deteriorated: Rev. Richard Chase died Jan 14 1794 aged 80 years.

[i]Chase, John Carroll and Chamberlain, George Walter, Some of the Descendants of William Chase of Roxbury and Yarmouth, Mass., NEHGR, January 1933

[ii] Deyo, Simeon L., editor, History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts,  HW Blake & Co., New York, 1890

[iii] Josiah Paine Harwich Families, manuscript transcribed by Burt Derick from Paine's ledgers at NEHGS.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rowland Sturtevant Bumpus 1804-1853, Wareham, MA

For years I went to Agawam Cemetery in Wareham with my grandmother, Millie. She already had a stone for herself and her husband ready and waiting. My father’s name is there as well, although he’s buried out of state where he died. He hated that she put his name on a gravestone (without asking) while he was alive and kicking.

All I needed to do after she was gone, she told me as she tidied up around her parents’ stone, was make a call to have the year of her death inscribed on the stone. She and her husband could have had free burials at the National Cemetery in Bourne since he was a veteran. But she liked Agawam. She talked about it like other people would if they were buying a home: location, privacy, quiet, wooded. She told me about the tiff she’d had with her brother’s family about who could be buried in which plot and what type of stones they could have. I always thought it was odd she cared so much about a place for deceased people to let it cause problems with living ones, but for some reason it meant a lot to her.

During hurricanes, my grandparents usually refused to leave their ocean front home. They didn’t want to leave their dogs behind and go to a shelter. And it was in Millie’s nature to ride things out. People called her “Hurricane Millie” for a reason—she didn’t rattle easily. The one time they did leave (firefighters came and forced them to leave), they piled the dogs into their huge Cadillac and headed to, where else, but Agawam Cemetery.

In all those years of going to the cemetery and witnessing the burials of my great grandparents and grandparents, I’d never wandered over into the older part of the cemetery. I had no idea that my grandfather (they divorced but turns out later in life he also lived in Wareham) had ancestors buried there. Millie would have gotten such a kick out of that!


Rowland Sturtevant Bumpus and his family are buried at Agawam Cemetery. He was a lifelong Wareham resident, except for time in California. He was a “49er” who went in search of gold on two occasions.

If he found any gold, it probably was a negligible amount, as he came back to Wareham and apparently led a humble life there. Someday I hope to find more details about his adventure.

I haven’t found him on passenger lists yet, but there is an “R. Bumpus” listed as an arrival at Panama City on 24 Sept 1849 (the city was a stop for ships on the way to San Francisco during the Gold Rush). In the 1950 census, he’s listed with his family in Wareham as a miner.

When Rowland wasn’t dreaming of gold, he worked as a teamer at the Tremont Nail Factory in Wareham. Coincidentally, before I knew anything about my Wareham ancestry, I dropped in to check it out and visit the attached gift shop. In his son Nathan’s 1847 birth record, Rowland is called a furnaceman (maybe also a job at Tremont?) and in his own 1853 death record he is referred to as a farmer.
Tremont Nail Factory, Wareham

Rowland was born 20 Jan 1804 in Wareham, son of Jonathan Bumpus and Martha Chubbuck. Martha’s another loose end--I haven’t found her parents. There were early Chubbucks in Hingham, some later in Wareham, but I can’t find how Martha connects to them. There were also some Churbucks in Wareham.

Rowland descends from Edward Bumpus/Bompasse who came to Plymouth in 1621 on the ship Fortune. His line of descent: Edward1 >Thomas2 > Samuel3 > Thomas4 > Jonathan5 > Rowland6. Edit: Jonathan as a son Thomas is now in question.

On 5 September, 1825, Rowland married Lucy Nye Pierce at Wareham. Lucy was the daughter of David Pierce and Desire Nye, and I’ll write about her another time as she’s an interesting subject as well.
Lucy Nye (Pierce) and Rowland Bumpus, property of Laurie Howland

Lucy and Rowland had 10 children at Wareham: Frederick, Ambrose, Adeline, Rowland, Lucy, Caroline, Mary, Lucretia, Pelina and Nathan.

I wonder how Lucy felt when Rowland boarded the boat for San Francisco. Was she hopeful for the possibility of wealth? Was she terrified that her husband would never return? If so, how would she raise the five children she still had at home, with the youngest being not quite three years of age? How would she get by while he was gone and not earning his regular pay?

Rowland did return from California, but died at Wareham of consumption on 29 April 1853, at age 49. (Mass VR Vol. 76 p. 226). He joined his children already buried at Agawam Cemetery: Ambrose and Rowland each died at age 4 and Pelena at 11 months.
Rowland Bumpus' stone at Agawam Cemetery, Wareham
Rowland’s son Frederick was already married at the time of his father’s death. He married Jane Yates and they raised their four children in Wareham. Adeline was also already married and she too stayed in Wareham, marrying Samuel Williams. I haven’t found children for Adeline and Sam. Adeline, Frederick and their spouses are buried at Agawam Cemetery.

Lucy was also already married, she was wedded to Calvin Benson at Middleborough (as Lucy Maria Bump) in 1851, but I don’t know where they got off to after that.

Caroline would marry Calvin Baker at Marshfield in 1858 and have one daughter. In The Bumpus Genealogy by Lynn Albert Bumpus, she is listed as dying in 1930. Descendant Laurie Howland says family information states Caroline died in California in 1933.

Mary Briggs Bumpus is my 3rd great grandmother. She married Seth Washburn in 1856 and they lived in Plymouth, where they raised three children.
Mary Bumpus Washburn, property of Laurie Howland

Lucretia married Asaph Burbank in 1860 and raised their two children in Plymouth.

Nathan Cobb Bumpus married Susan Ellis in 1870 in Acushnet and they had six children there.

I had the good fortune of being put in contact with Lucy Day, who lives in California and is a descendant of Nathan Bumpus, who served in the Civil War. He came to live in Acushnet when his mother remarried and moved there. In turn she put me in touch with Laurie Howland, whose husband descends from the same family. Laurie had family photographs! What luck! She’s a kindred spirit in that she likes to figure out when the photos were taken and figure out who is in them and I am incredibly indebted to her.

Fortunately for Bumpus descendants, brothers Paul and Stephen Bumpus started a website that includes a transcription of the Bumpus Genealogy by Lynne Albert Bumpus:

They have another page with many useful links, but it is currently under construction. Save the URL to check back later:

 Paul Bumpus was incredibly helpful to me when I started my Bumpus research, as was Richard Griffith, who lived in Wareham at the time. It never ceases to amaze me how the world of family history is chock full of kind, generous people.

Andrew Griffith has a fantastic History of Wareham website, which includes inscriptions and some photos of Agawam Cemetery gravestones, as well as other Wareham Cemeteries:

A few books I’ve found useful in my Wareham research:
Records of the First Parish Church of Wareham, by Leonard H. Smith.
Glimpses of Early Wareham, by Daisy Washburn Lovell, Wareham Historical Society

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ruth Harding of Chatham who m. Nehemiah Eldredge--My most nagging brick wall!

 April 8, 2024: I believe Ruth's parents are Thomas and Content/Jenny (Howes) Harding. See updated information on Ruth here.

Ruth Harding of Chatham—who the heck were her parents?! When and where did she and her husband live out their final days? It drives me nuts not to know!

Ruth married Nehemiah Eldredge in 1796. Their intentions were published Harwich Vital Records p 178: Mr. Nehemiah Eldredge of Harwich - Miss Ruth Harding of Chatham Jany 30th 1796 and in Chatham VR p 165: January 29th 1796 Then Nehemiah Eldredge of Harwich entered his intention of marriage with Ruth Harding of Chatham in order for publishment to be made thereof in Chatham.

They raised their family of nine children in Harwich: James Harding, Freeman, Rebecca, Sally, Nehemiah, Ruth, Susan, Harding, Didama.

James and Rebecca both settled in Dennis Port; Sally in Harwich; Nehemiah in Harwich and Chatham; Ruth in Chatham; Susan Harwich, Chatham and Dennis Port; Didama in Chatham. Not sure about Freeman who may have died as an unmarried young man and Harding, who I haven’t found any further record of.

Their daughter Susan’s 1846 marriage records says her parents were of Harwich. Their daughter Didama’s 1910 death record states her mother was “Polly” Harding, born Chatham. Was that a nickname for Ruth? Still no death record for a Polly Eldredge.

Nehemiah was born 7 June 1775 in Harwich, son of Elnathan Eldredge (Ebenezer3, Jehosophat2, William 1), and Dorothy Freeman (Thomas5-4-3, John2, Edmond1).  I’d guess Ruth to be a few years younger, so perhaps a 1777 birth year.

I also cannot find death/burial information for Ruth or Nehemiah. It is likely they died and are buried in Harwich (or even Chatham), but there are no records or stones for them in either place. Many of Harwich’s vital records have been lost. Perhaps Nehemiah and Ruth didn’t have the means for the family to purchase headstones or they haven’t survived.

Nehemiah is mentioned in his father's 7 May 1832 will, receiving bequests to be split equally with his three brothers, including land. If Nehemiah was in some far off place, I’d imagine that would be mentioned and Nehemiah wouldn’t have need of land on the Cape.

Nehemiah’s parents and some of his siblings are buried at the Methodist Church Cemetery in East Harwich, a building his father and siblings, and perhaps himself, constructed. I contacted the pastor there and he said many of the records belonging to the church have been lost.
E. Harwich Methodist Church in 1999, undergoing renovations

A published Eldredge genealogy (The Family of Clyde Mulford Eldridge and Other Descendants of William Eldred of Yarmouth, by Luella Eldridge, 1983, Gateway Press, Inc, Baltimore, MD.) gives Nehemiah’s death year as 1839, but no source cited.

Possible scenarios I’ve shot down:
--They went west with the Mormons. Their sons James H. and Nehemiah became active in the Reorganized Latter Day Saint Church, but people going west was after Nehemiah and Ruth’s time.
--They went to Nova Scotia, as some Eldredge’s from the Cape did. Genealogist/historian Burt Derick has many records of Cape folks who went to Nova Scotia and Nehemiah and Ruth aren’t mentioned. 

Someone at NEHGS checked a manuscript called the William Henry Eldridge Papers. It has a hand-written addition of 1839 as Nehemiah’s death date. Burt Derick’s mother had a note on Nehemiah that referenced "An Eldredge Gen." by Ruth Brown McAllister 1966, which also gives the 1839 death date. Doesn’t that 1839 date have to come from someplace??

The Harding family goes way back in Chatham. One of earliest settlers of Chatham was Joseph Harding who was appointed at 12 June 1693 meeting to "goe make up or repair men's houses." I’d would think Ruth descends from Joseph.

There is another Ruth Harding of Chatham, but she is older than “my” Ruth.

There was a John Harding who married Deborah Nickerson at Chatham in 1768, but Ruth is not listed amongst there 10 children.

In 1790 Census, there were 15 Harding households in Barnstable County and only two in Chatham:
1.       John Harding, 1 male 16 plus; 3 males under 16; 7 females (this is likely the John Harding mentioned above)
2.       Theodore Harding 1 male 16 plus, 1 male under 16, 1 female.

I don’t find Theodore in later census records for Chatham.  There is always just one Theodore Harding in the Federal Census living in MA. In 1790 he is in Chatham and later he is in Medway and Walpole. But the Theodore in Medway/Walpole was born about 1810.

There is yet another Theodore of Medway whose intentions to marry Hannah Clap were published in 1796. There was a Theodore and Lois Harding having children in the 1750s through the 70s in Medway. The Harding family goes back even further in Medway, so unlikely this is the same family at Chatham.

One thing I haven’t done, because I so rarely get down the Cape these days and it could be quite time consuming, is to look through probate records for Chatham Hardings to see if any mention a daughter Ruth Eldredge. 

I'm certain I'll find more on Ruth eventually!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Elihu Kelley of West Dennis, MA, 1759-1841

How I got started
Now that I’ve written little bits on each of my Mayflower ancestors, I thought I’d write about how I got started in researching my family history. My paternal Grandmother, Mildred Louise (Booth) (Davis) Rollins, piqued my interest in our Cape Cod roots. I called her Nanny, but for this story I’ll use her nickname Millie. 

Old wooden boxes. I’ve loved them for as long as I can remember. Especially ones with locks. Over the years, what type of special things did people keep in these boxes? A precious land deed, the family Bible, money, hard to procure tea, needlework, family jewels, a lock of a beloved child‘s hair? A little lock seems like it offers a false sense of security--couldn’t a thief just take the whole box and smash it open? Was the lock just to keep things private and (somewhat) safe from servants and untrustworthy family members? 

One day when I was sitting by my grandmother Millie’s bed, trying to cheer her up (she was quite prone to blue moods, something they probably called melancholia in the old days), I was desperately trying to start a conversation that would steer her into a more positive frame of mind. Nothing was working and as I looked around her small, congested bedroom, I noticed two small wooden boxes that stood out amongst the clutter of perfume bottles, ceramic figures, brushes and combs on her bureau. Millie followed my gaze.
 “That sweet little one belonged to Aunt Polly,” she said, a smile spreading across her face. “Bring it over here and we’ll take a look.” 

Polly was her mother’s half sister, a woman who lived to the age of 101. Her box was small, made of dark wood with a lovely swirling grain, and amazingly its tiny key was still nestled in the lock. Inside were some small pieces of Polly’s jewelry and other family items that Millie had added. There were tiny and very old wedding bands and my Great-grandmother Ethel (Kelley) Booth’s sewing thimble. Some things Millie had identified with slips of paper: “Al’s Air Force Wings,” “Mother’s Leaf Pin,” and so on. Also inside was a piece of lined paper, folded into a small square upon which Polly noted some family names with their birth, marriage and death dates. That got us going on a conversation about our family’s long history on Cape Cod; Nanny’s blue mood had disappeared.

 Little did I know that piece of paper and the conversation with Millie would spark an obsession with tracing the family history that is still going on some 18 years later.
One of favorite ancestral characters is my fourth great grandfather Elihu Kelley. Fortunately I had purchased Nancy Thacher Reid’s impressive book on the history of Dennis[i] before my Grandmother passed away and was able to share it with her. Elihu the ferryman really gave her a chuckle.

Elihu was born 28 May 1759 in Yarmouth (an area that would become West Dennis), one of the thirteen children of Eleazer Kelley (sometimes spelled Killey or O’Killey) and Hannah Baker. Eleazer wasn’t a certified Quaker (Society of Friends), but many in his family were Quakers. He clearly leaned that way as he was fined for not attending military exercises. Quakers often declined based on their religious beliefs and for some reason the precinct paid his fine and he wasn’t jailed. 

In about 1784 Elihu married a Yarmouth woman named Thankfull. They were from Quaker families and those marriages typically weren’t recorded in municipal vital records. Many people, including Eunice Kelley Randall in her 1962 Kelley genealogy, give her maiden name as Baxter, daughter of Cornelius Baxter and Joanna Marchant. This is the only Thankfull on record in the area to be the right age to be the wife of Elihu, but this is circumstantial evidence. 

Thankfull Baxter is a descendant of John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley of the Mayflower. When I checked with the Mayflower Society in 2005, no one at that time had a line approved through Thankfull. Without more evidence I don’t think it would be possible.  

Elihu and Thankfull had nine children: Veney/Vinney, Elihu, Levina, Wilbour/Wilber, Asa, Silvia, Rebecca, Hiram, and Sukey. I descend through Hiram. 

Like his father, Elihu was an attender, but not a member, of the Quaker meeting. It is possible he and Thankfull are buried at the Friends cemetery in South Yarmouth, where gravestones weren’t always commonplace.  

I believe Elihu was a sea captain as I’ve seen him referred to as “captain.” He was part owner of the Schooners Eleanor and Mary, Amazon and Harriet. Among my Grandmother Millie’s photographs was an old snapshot of a vessel with “The Eleanor” written on the bottom. I believe this is same schooner Elihu owned and a family member took a photo of her years later.  

In 1795 David Kelley of South Yarmouth received permission to run a ferry service from shore to shore. His cousins Elihu, Eleazer and Browning were the actual ferrymen. The vessel used was a barge, which was poled across, requiring strong muscles and good balance. The brothers Kelley lived near the river on the Dennis side and could be summoned to carry passengers by blowing a horn fashioned from a large conch shell. Fare was two cents for a foot passenger and 25 cents for a horse and carriage.

David Kelley was a prominent member of the Society of Friends. His cousins were not found on the list of certified Quakers, but they did attend meetings. Later in life Elihu's name is among the members of the newly formed Methodist Church.

Elihu was called “Uncle Elihu” by the locals. "He had a skiff for passengers and a scow for teams," said Mr. Wood, "and a conch shell was tied to a post at the landing, which was blown when the services of the ferryman were needed. The mischievous boys would often blow the conch to get the old man out." Mr. Wing has this to say of Uncle Elihu: "Although Uncle Elihu's accustomed place in the Friend's meeting, which he regularly attended though not a member, was upon the "rising seats," he was evidently averse to talking much of his religious views, for it is related of him that, when questioned upon that subject by a traveling preacher while the ferry boat was in mid-stream, the old man pretended to be very hard of hearing and replied as he poled the vigorously, "Yes, about half way across; and upon a repetition of the inquiry, he said. "Yes, yes, about half way across, half way across,' and so evaded the question." He was very much opposed to the building of a bridge, declaring that he could see no sense or reason in such a thing; but the bridge was built and the old ferryman's occupation was gone. The bridge was built in 1832 and as the old man lived until October, 1841, so he had many chances to cross it if he so wished.[ii]
Old postcard of the Bass River Bridge

Uncle Eleazar Kelley (Elihu’s brother) would have ferried you across at two cents a man, and for the price, you got a real piece of navigation. When the ferry failed to make it, you just went out to sea with Uncle Eleazar and hove to for the tide to turn. For you see, Bass River flows two ways - to the northeast on the flow tide, southwest on the ebb. To venture out cross-tide - come the ebb or come the flow - took the hand of a master, and sometimes - come the ebb - even Uncle Eleazar would find himself sliding broadside for Tuckernuck Island.[iii]

 Increase in the need to cross the river led David Kelley to apply to the towns of Dennis and Yarmouth in 1805 for permission to build a bridge to replace his ferry. After a lot of wrangling and compromise that lasted many years, the bridge was finally approved by both towns.  At one point David said he would withdraw his petition if the town would grant him permission to build a wharf across Berry Flats to accommodate his ferry. Dennis agreed to this and the ferry continued to be the only way to cross Bass River for several more years. Part of the Berry Flats is still visible today just north of the present Lower Bass River Bridge. 

In 1815 David Kelley again proposed to build a bridge across Bass River and Dennis Town Meeting approved it on 8 May 1815. The newly proposed site was considerably farther up river from the ferry landing, where the first bridge was proposed to be built. Few vessels went that far up stream, so it wasn’t going to cause much inconvenience to watercraft. 
Old postcard of the Bass River Bridge

 The act that would incorporate the bridge company was to contain a provision that the tolls would remain the same for a period of 75 years and then could only be raised with permission of the legislature. The bridge would be constructed at the Second Narrows between land of Richard Sears and Josiah Nickerson. Tolls were two cents for foot passengers two cents, three cents for wheelbarrows, six cents per dozen of sheep, eight cents for  a cart with one horse. No charge was permitted for people traveling to military training, religious services or funerals. Tolls were probably collected at the house of Josiah Nickerson. In 1832 another bridge was built over the Bass River, located approximately where the present bridge on Route 28 is today. It was several hundred feet north of the road which led to the old ferry site, a road still called Ferry Street.
 I just love it when a street name has real history behind it! I do wonder what Elihu did to earn a living after the end of his ferry business. 

Elihu Kelley died 26 October 1841 in West Dennis (MA VR Vol.1: Pg.317). He left a will dated 30 June 1835.[iv] The inventory was taken 15 Jan 1842 at West Dennis. It lists part ownership in the Schooners Harriet and Amazon, his homestead with 2 ½ acres, four acres near his homestead, a lot of land near the (Bass) River, a lot of meadow land, a lot of cedar swamp, and a share in the school house. 

He left land to his sons Elihu, Wilber, Asa, Hiram, and grandson Vinney as his son of that name had died. It’s interesting that all of the land was near the son’s current homes, so they all lived in the same West Dennis neighborhood, likely on land owned by the Kelley family since the 17th century. 

Elihu left his household furniture to his daughters Sylvia Crowell, Rebecca Lewis, and Susy Baker, after the death of his widow. He gave his daughter Rebecca Lewis the improvement of the west part of his house while she remained a widow. He bequeathed his home and remaining property to his wife Thankful.

[i] Reid, Nancy Thacher.  1996.  Dennis, Cape Cod from Firstcomers to Newcomers, 1639 - 1993.  Dennis, MA:  Dennis Historical Society.
[ii] E. Lawrence Jenkins, 1915, Old Quaker Village, South Yarmouth, Mass., Pamplet No. 38 in the Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, Yarmouthport, MA: CW Swift Publisher.
[iii] Jeremiah Diggs, 1937, Cape Cod Pilot, Provincetown, MA: Modern Pilgrim Press.
[iv] Barnstable Co. Probate Records, Vol 15, p 414.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mayflower Ancestors Pt. 12: James Chilton and Daughter Mary

This is my last known Mayflower ancestor--phew!

James Chilton was a Separatist and was with the Pilgrims in Leiden, where he was a tailor. James was born about 1556 at Canterbury, Kent, England, son of Lionel Chilton. His baptism has not been found but the best source for his age is the 1619 Leiden Statement of Facts, which describes him as "approximately 63 years of age." 

He was married in 1585/6 to a woman whose name is not known, although her name is often seen as Susanna Furner, which is incorrect. Their first child was baptized at St. Paul’s, Canterbury on 15 Jan 1586/87.
James and his wife had children ten children, although three died young: Isabella, Jane, Mary (died young), Joel (died young), Elizabeth, James (died young), Ingle, Christian, James, and Mary.

James was named “Gifted Freeman” at Canterbury, quite an honor since a new mayor could only bestow this on one person within a year after taking office. From what I understand, it meant that James could run his drapery/tailoring business without restraint and without using apprentices. 
James Chilton autograph from mayflowerhistory.com

Perhaps due to their religious beliefs, the family relocated to Sandwich in Kent. I can't imagine leaving Canterbury, a place where James had a special standing in the community, would have been taken lightly. Mary was baptized in Sandwich on 31 May 1607, at St. Peter’s.  In 1609 Mrs. Chilton was charged with attending the secret burial service of a child (they opposed the burial services of the Church of England) and excommunication proceedings against her began.  James was called to court for a variety of offenses, including hitting a man with a stick, causing upset at church, and another time he and two others were “bound over” for the enormous sum of 66 pounds. 
St. Peter's Church, Sandwich, Kent, where Mary Chilton was baptized

In 1619, James Chilton was caught with his daughter Isabella in an anti-Arminian (religious followers of Jacobus Arminius) riot in Leiden and he was hit in the head with a rock, requiring a visit to a surgeon. 

At age 64, James was the oldest person on board the Mayflower. He brought along his wife and youngest daughter Mary. He died 8 December 1620 on board the Mayflower anchored in Provincetown Harbor.  His wife died that first winter, leaving Mary an orphan at 13 years of age.
Pilgrim Memorial Monument at Provincetown

After the death of her parents it is likely Mary joined the household of Myles Standish. In 1626 or 1627 Mary married John Winslow, who came on the Fortune in 1621 to join his brother Edward. Governor Bradford wrote that they had nine children. He also wrote that another daughter came to Plymouth after the Mayflower and that she had one child, but he does not give her name.

Mary and John’s children: John, Susanna, Mary, Edward, Sarah, Samuel, Joseph, Isaac, an unnamed child who died young, and Benjamin.

The family resided in Plymouth for many years, but eventually removed to Boston. The house they lived in on Spring Lane is no longer standing. They transferred their church membership upon arriving at Boston to the Third Church, which became the Old South Church. The current Old South Meeting House was built after Mary’s death. John was a very successful merchant. 
Plaque marking the site of Mary Chilton Winslow's home

John died in Boston in 1674 and Mary died there about 1679. He had written her will in 1676. John and Mary are buried at King’s Chapel Burying Ground in Boston, where they have replacement stones. 
Mary (Chilton) and John Winslow replacement gravestone

You can view a transcription of Mary’s will and inventory at:
http://www.pilgrimhall.org/willmchiltonwinslow.htm. The site also has a transcription of John Winslow’s will.

A longstanding tradition has held that Mary Chilton was the first of the Mayflower passengers to step onto Plymouth Rock. Charles Thornton Libby carried out a detailed examination of this story, published as Mary Chilton's Title to Celebrity (Boston 1926, rpt. Warwick RI 1978). This seems highly unlikely, but it’s a nice story nonetheless. 
Plymouth Rock

My line from James Chilton, not yet submitted to the Mayflower Society:

1      Mary Chilton  1607 - 1679
+John Winslow       1597 - 1674
2      Mary Winslow        - 1665
+Edward Gray        1623 - 1681
3      John Gray      1661 - 1732
+Joanna Morton    
4      Anne Gray      1691 -
+John Tinkham      
5      Ann Tinkham  1726 - 1758
+Samuel Fuller        1724 - 1758
6      Mary Fuller    1748 - 1802
+Jabez Nye     1749 - 1802
7      Desire Nye       1771 - 1858
+David Pierce 1773 - 1820
8      Lucy Nye Pierce      1809 - 1896
+Rowland Sturtevant Bumpus        1804 - 1853
9      Mary Briggs Bumpus      1840 - 1916
+Seth Washburn     1828 - 1921
10    Charles Francis Washburn     1857 – 1941
+Hattie Maria Benson    1861 - 1914
11    Carrie Clyfton Washburn      1896 - 1974
+George Brewster Smith        1895 - 1913
12    Arthur Elmer Washburn Davis      1913 - 1976
+Mildred Louise Booth   1917 - 1999
13    My parents
14    Me

Chilton Children’s: http://www.chiltonschildren.org/

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mayflower Ancestors Pt. 11: Francis Eaton

Francis Eaton is an ancestor who tugs at my heart strings as he had a life filled with tragedy. The misfortune started early--all of Francis’s siblings, except for his brother Samuel, died in 1603/1604, apparently due to a sickness that had spread through the household. 

Francis was baptized 11 September 1596 at Bristol, Gloucestershire, England, the son of John Eaton and Dorothy Smith. He became a house carpenter in England, which may have been why the Separatists wanted him to come to America with them. He was not a Separatist but rather a “stranger.” Francis had at least some education as he signed his name to documents.
Francis Eaton Signature from mayflowerhistory.com

Francis married first Sarah, whose maiden name is unknown, about 1618-19, in England. They had a son Samuel who was an infant on board the family’s voyage aboard the Mayflower. Sadly, Sarah died during that first difficult winter at Plymouth. 
Francis married second Dorothy, maiden name unknown, before 1623 at Plymouth. She was a maid servant to John Carver who had died in the spring of 1621, as did his wife, leaving Dorothy on her own. 

In the 1623 Land Division, Francis received four shares: one for himself, one for his deceased wife Sarah, one for his son Samuel, and one for his current wife Dorothy. Dorothy must have died soon after the division of land at Plymouth. 

Francis was about 26 years of age and had already lost two wives, but he forged ahead and married yet again. He married third Christian Penn around 1625 in Plymouth. Christian had arrived in 1623 on the “Anne.” They had three children together: Rachel, Benjamin and a third child whose name is unknown. The unknown child was called an “ideote” and was still living in 1651. I can’t imagine how people coped with a child with a severe disability given how difficult life already was for them. 

Francis died in the fall of 1633, apparently dying of an infectious fever that swept hrough Plymouth.  He was just 37 years of age and left behind a wife and four young children. 

His estate included one cow and a calf, two hogs, fifty bushels of corn, a black suit, a white hat, a black hat, boots, four pewter platters, fishing lead, and many carpentry tools including , hammers, an adze, square, augers, a chisel, boards, saws. See a list of his inventory at: http://www.pilgrimhall.org/willfeaton.htm

In July 1634, Christian married second Francis Billington, whose father John was hanged for murder in 1630. She and Francis Billington had nine children together. She died circa 1684, probably at Middleborough.

My line of descent from Francis and Sarah Eaton:

1      Francis Eaton 1596 - 1633
+Sarah Unknown   
2      Samuel Eaton  1620 - 1684
+Martha Billington 1638 - 1704
3      Mercy Eaton   1665 - 1703/04
+Samuel Fuller        1658 - 1728
4      Benjamin Fuller      1695/96 -
+Mary Samson       
5      Samuel Fuller  1724 - 1758
+Ann Tinkham        1726 - 1758
6      Mary Fuller    1748 - 1802
+Jabez Nye     1749 -
7      Desire Nye       1771 - 1858
+David Pierce 1773 - 1820
8      Lucy Nye Pierce      1809 - 1896
+Rowland Sturtevant Bumpus        1804 - 1853
9      Mary Briggs Bumpus      1840 - 1916
+Seth Washburn     1828 - 1921
10    Charles Francis Washburn     1857 - 1941
+Hattie Maria Benson    1861 - 1914
11    Carrie Clyfton Washburn      1896 – 1974
+George Brewster Smith        1895 – 1913
12    Arthur Elmer Washburn Davis      1913 - 1976
+Mildred Louise Booth   1917 – 1999
13    My parents
14   Me 

Richard Gere is a descendant of Francis Eaton.