Kimmitt Genealogical Research

14 December 2010

Lost Souls of Children

Yesterday my historian pal, Harry, called to tell me his cousin had discovered a previously unknown baby buried in their family plot. Little Betty Richardson apparently lived about three years (1931-1934), had no gravestone and was not known to the family. She was born, died and disappeared. Harry and I discussed how this makes us want to visit her little grave and acknowledge her existence. Somehow we want to mark the fact that she ever walked the earth. It makes death seem a little less harsh if we imagine our memory outliving us, but how long can the memory of a three-year old live on? Once her parents are gone, who is there to perpetuate her memory? So today I await the outcome of a search for her parents in the Worcester City Clerk's office. But I don't even really need to know who her parents were. I just want to lay a Christmas rose upon her grave and mark the fact that she spent time on this earth, poor little soul.

My own family has a similar lost soul. My grandmother and mother, both genealogists, passed down to me that Israel Merritt Barnes (Senior) and his wife Olive Litchfield suffered a wait of 16 years after their daughters’ deaths before they welcomed another child –– Israel Jr. This was the reason that Israel Jr. was grew up to be so spoiled and squandered any money the family had managed to accumulate––he was just overly loved.

Israel and Olive had married in 1840. They first had Hannah E. Barnes on 7 June 1841. Then on on 18 October 1843 they welcomed another girl, Mandana Clapp Barnes. Both little girls died within eight days of one another in July of 1844, when they were 3 (of dysentery) and less than 1 (of bowel complaint). No further known children were born to this couple until 1861, when my great grandfather, Israel Merritt Barnes II (Junior), was born. This was twenty years after the birth of his parents' first child, and seventeen since they had lost their only children. They must have been elated at his birth! Israel Junior grew up in privilege, went on to speculate with the family fortune, and earned the moniker of "spoiled." At least there was a reason for his being pampered. One can understand his parents' grief and longing for more children, and commiserate a bit with their propensity to spoil a long-awaited child.

Israel Merritt Barnes II (Junior), only surviving child of
Israel Merrit Barnes I (Senior) and Olive (Litchfield) Barnes
Israel Junior, the spoiled one, was the father-in-law of our first known family genealogist––my grandmother, Vernetta. She passed her hobby and passion down to my mother, who, in turn passed it down to me. Many years passed and it came time for me to write a kinship determination project for my certification portfolio. I re-examined every family unit, in fact, every individual in my family tree, and while doing so, came across something I used to routinely ignore.

Online family trees, which rarely cite sources, can contain many errors. They should be used, if at all, only as a springboard for potential research. But occasionally they can open up a new avenue and provide insight into an undiscovered gem. Because of an online family tree I discovered another child of Israel and Olive. Ancestry World Tree (AWT) shows the birth of Webster, son of Israel M. and Olive (Litchfield) Barnes in Scituate on 12 January 1855, and a death in January 1855.

What????? They had another child? What made her say that? How many years after the deaths of the girls was this? Eleven. How old was Olive? Thirty-five. Why had we not heard of this???? Unknown. And this is six years before Israel Junior was born!

I was quite sure it was some strange kind of error. However, I checked the source, and it was from the daughter of a woman who had grown up on the same street as my mother, the street I lived on until I was two. How on earth did she know this when my mother and grandmother hadn't? So I contacted her. She told me she had found the information in her mother's notes and that her mother was now suffering from senility. [Robin Hayes,, family tree submission, Ancestry World Tree ( : August 12 2007), citing GEDCOM file : 2800260.ged, 10 May 2004; gives a birthdate of 12 January 1855 in Scituate, and death there January 1855. When contacted, the submitter, revealed that the information was from notes written by her mother, Polly (Sylvester) Whittaker, a Scituate genealogist suffering now from senility. She was a friend of the Barnes family, though born much later than the birth of Webster, probably about 1920 or so. There could be reasons for a friend of the family to note the birth, as valid as any reasons for the Barnes family not to note it.]

I needed corroboration, so off to I went. A newspaper announcement indirectly confirmed Webster's birth through a death notice. Sadly, he too, like his sisters before him, had died young and left his parents to grieve once more.

“Deaths,” Boston Press and Post, 4 June 1855, online subscription database linked to original images; ( : accessed 1 March 2008).
There is no trace of either the birth or death of this baby in Boston City, Town of Scituate or Massachusetts state vital records. I searched for all Barnes babies born in 1855 across the state; all unnamed Barnes boys in 1855, all children named Webster. He has never been mentioned in the family genealogies. There is no gravestone for him at Mt. Hope Cemetery where his parents are buried. However, at the time of his death there was a Barnes/Vinal family tomb in which he could have been interred. To date, no records have been discovered for that tomb which is located directly across the street from the homestead. The Scituate Town Archives has a recent survey of cemeteries that mentions this tomb, but does not list who is buried there. When my 62-year old brother played there as a child the bodies had already been carried off, whether by animals or grave-robbers, we'll never know.

The newspaper announcement led in turn to a search of the records of the Unitarian Church in Scituate, which say: “June 1st, Infant child of Israel M. Barnes, 8 days.” [“Records of the First Church of Christ in Scituate, Mass.,” p. 97, Deaths, 1855; Scituate Town Archives.]

So now we have a conflict in dates. Two June 1855 sources, and a much later source. I go with the contemporaneous source (almost) every time, so I'm placing my money on little Webster dying on 1 June at eight days, and thus having a birth date of 24 May 1855. It is easy enough to mis-copy Jan. for Jun. The only place where he is named is in the newspaper article and the Ancestry World Tree entry, not in the family or church records.

These sources cannot be refuted, even though the birth and death never appear in official town or state records. There was no other couple named Israel M. and Olive L. Barnes in Massachusetts, especially in Scituate, at that time. There would be no other reason for this notice to be printed, no incentive to lie about such a sad event. Yet there are a multitude of reasons not to have the birth and death registered. If the child had been frail, they may have waited to report his birth. Since he passed away at only eight days, then the birth and death could in a way negate each other and the grief-stricken family may not have had the energy or inclination to bother with a simultaneous registration of birth and death. On the other hand, justification can be made for the minister and neighbors taking note of the events, as they were more subjective.

Scituate was a small town, a tight community where everyone knew everyone else's business. Thankfully, one of those neighbors took note of the birth of little Webster. If I could only locate his grave, I'd visit him with a Christmas rose, but in the meantime, I'll focus my energies on Betty Richardson.

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19 November 2010

Woman's Missionary Society, First Congregational Church, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Here's a little excerpt from a register of the minutes of the Women's Missionary Society of the Shrewsbury Congregational Church. It's quite interesting in how it reveals the women of 1915 dealing with women's issues. Just a few of the things they discussed were childrearing, immigration, education of women, missionary work overseas, and of course, religion. They sang, discussed issues of the day, held fundraisers, did crafts together, prayed and did all they could to learn about the world outside of Shrewsbury.

The very neatly written register. A joy to transcribe!

March 18, 1915

On Thursday afternoon, March 18th, the
regular meeting of the Woman’s Missionary Society
was held in the Vestry. The meeting was opened
by the president, Mrs. Cook, who read the account
of Christ’s being found in the Temple in serious
conversation with the learned doctors of the Law.
Prayer was offered and the secretary’s report
was read and approved. The usual offering
was taken. 

Miss Grace Marion Holland, one of the many young ladies who went abroad to serve as a missionary, in India. Her sister, Ruth, died of typhoid fever in Ceylon after she had served there for a little over a year, on 11 January 1921.

Letters from our missionary, Miss Abbie G.
Chapin, of Tungchou, North China, and her
friend, Miss Phelps, were read. They wrote
of their Christmas celebrations and told what
was done with the bags and handkerchiefs
we sent them (about 100 of each).

Mrs Willis Knowlton then took charge
of the meeting. A Gospel hymn was sung
and the last chapter of the study book was
considered––The child at work for Christ.
One or two selections were read from
the book, following which Mrs. Shepard
expressed her feeling as to what the children
of Shrewsbury need to have done for them,
and the importance of having a parish

Miss Marble, our kindergarten teacher, spoke
of ways in which we may be of service to the
French and Italian children and mothers
at the Lake. Miss Marble has made a
thorough canvas of that district and has
found there one hundred children of
kindergarten age. The mothers are eager
to learn how to do things in the American
way; and Miss Marble thinks that after
the kindergarten at the Lake is started
and the teacher has won the confidence
of these mothers, there will be an op-
portunity for us to teach them cooking,
sewing, care of children, and care of their

The music consisted of singing by the
Sunshine Club, accompanied by Miss Doris

The attendance was eleven members,
four adults visitors, and eight children––
total 23. 

Postcard found in the Shrewsbury Congregational Church Archives.
Float created by members of St. Mary's and St. Anne's parishes,
also in Shrewsbury.

Decorations of flags were furnished by
the flower committee, and a begonia in
full bloom.

Since our last meeting, one of our
members, Miss Mary L. Norcross, has been
taken from us by death, after a long and
painful illness. Her name first appears
in our records in October, 1901, when she
was chosen secretary of the society.
From that time until her last illness,
so far as her health permitted, Mrs. Norcross
was always ready to do her part in the work
of the society.

Ida L. Bement Sec’y.
An early view of the First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

19 October 2010

Diary of a Medium, Georgianne (Hagerman) Jones, 1928

Georgianna Hagerman, 1888,  Fredericton, New Brunswick.
My mother's mother's mother, before life got to her, but already looking a bit glum.
She was variously called Georgia, Georgia Ann, Georgie, Georgianne, Georgie Ann, and Georgianna 

My first genealogical education was the National Genealogical Society’s Basic American Genealogy home study course. An early assignment was to interview a relative we had never met in order to practice interviewing and learn more about that branch. So my sister Ann and I went to visit my mother’s maternal first cousin, Jackie (Jones) Towler in July of 1998. My mother had passed away two years earlier, and since Jackie was in the older generation and from a side of the family I knew little about she fit nicely. Though there was a 17 year age gap between Jackie and my mother, they had always been very fond of each other.

Jackie had genealogical experience and understood my interest in family history. She had successfully researched my great-uncles’ births in Lawrence for my mother, but the birth of my grandmother, Vernetta Gertrude Jones was nowhere to be found––by Jackie, my mother, my Aunt Abbie, or even Vernetta herself, who was an ardent genealogist! 

Ann and I went to the home of Jackie and her husband, Herbert ("Red") in Lawrence armed with a video camera. Jackie had also invited her sister, Barbara, and they had gathered some old photos and assorted memorabilia. One item in particular just blew me away –– a typescript of the diary of Vernetta's mother, Georgianna (Hagerman) Jones. (See the variety of ways her name appears in records in the caption under her photo, above.) Jackie had given the original diary to her son Jared, and he transcribed and typed it. It looks like he transcribed it verbatim, but sometimes I can’t tell if he has made typos or if Georgianna did! So in my transcription of the transcription, I fixed the obvious ones (i.e. uncerstand, mornign, etc.). I surely would love to see the original, though! Apart from the obvious need to get down to the original for accuracy purposes, the diary is in Georgie's handwriting, which add would add so much depth to something as poignant as this.

Georgianna was a Spiritualist, and communicated regularly with the Great Beyond. She held dinner séances where guests paid a fee to dine and then chat with their dearly departed over coffee. My mother Priscilla (Barnes) FitzGerald was her granddaughter, and I can still see the childlike excitement on her face as she recounted visiting her grandmother and being allowed to collect money at these dinners, starting at the impressionable age of six.

Georgianna’s son, Frank Dewey Jones, died at the age of 29 on 4 December 1927. [1] His death certificate gives lobar pneumonia as the cause of death, but Jackie thought it might have been from tainted alcohol he obtained (Prohibition). The diary mentions his legs giving him trouble, but I do not know what that refers to. Georgie was obviously heartbroken, and used her diary as a way to comfort herself and make sense out of her painful world by channelling her son and documenting her own feelings. 

Jones/Barnes Gathering circa 1925, location unknown,
perhaps the Barnes summer cottage at Rivermoor, Scituate, Mass.
Back Row, L-R: Cecil Jones, Bill Barnes, Ernest Jones, Georgianne (Hagerman) Jones, Priscilla Barnes
Front Row: Louise Barnes, Frank Jones holding twin Anne Barnes,
Billy Barnes turned away, Jared Smith Jones holding twin Abbie Barnes.
Missing is Vernetta (Jones) Barnes, probably the one taking the photo, which has her parents, siblings, husband and children.

Georgianne's diary mentions other family members:

• Her husband, Jared Smith Jones, “Pa”;

• Sons Ernest Jared, born 1895; Clowes Warren, born 1900; and Cecil Roy born 1907. Cecil was Jackie and Barbara’s father.

• Daughter Vernetta Gertrude (Jones) Barnes, “Vernie”, and her husband “Bill” or William Otis Barnes (my grandparents);

• Bill's mother, “Mrs. Barnes”, Bethia Augusta (Clapp) Barnes, who had died on 6 February 1928--only five days before Georgianne started the diary;

• Vernie and Bill’s children, Priscilla (my mother), Louise, Billy, and twins Abbie and Anne, whose ages ranged from three to thirteen;

So far I have not been able to ascertain the identity of “Nolan.”

Jones family photos are rare. I have one that could be of Frank, but all it says, in my grandmother's handwriting, is "Uncle Frank 1920". He looks older than 22 to me, and is dressed in a fine suit, which seems exaggerated given his occupation as clerk. She usually labelled people by how they related to her, so it's odd that she'd call him "Uncle Frank." As far as I know she didn't have an Uncle Frank, though, so perhaps it is, indeed, him.

The diary is almost a stream of consciousness, which is why I love it. I’m including a few of her entries below to give you a feel for it. It is too long to include in its entirety, but when I get my act together, I will upload it to my website.

Detail of above, Georgianne (Hagerman) Jones
Born 3 Feb 1868, Queensbury, York, New Brunswick
Died 3 June 1932, Lawrence, Essex, Massachusetts


Feb. 11th 1928 

Mrs. Barnes [speaking to her daughter's mother-in-law]

you have gone to your beautiful home over there. I have been thinking of you ever since you passed on

First you was always good, sweet and good to everybody. Always wore a smile and dear Frank liked you and you was good to him and all the boys and to all of us.

I know you are happy
Just gone on before
Through the open door
Where all the love ones met
you and I hear the soft
Murmur. Ah so happy so happy 

Feb. 11th 1928

Ah spirit of light that has
guided you right
be though of good cheer
knowing we are here
sending rays of light
Around you day and night
ah though spirits we arte
to be attuned with the great divine
spirit until we shall rise above

all the trying and grey condirations. Each day may we ask guidance for that day. When the day is done give thanks for something good that has been done.

Knowing that God is lone power and strength sufficient for all needs. For all times and places. giving thanks at the end of the day

call all the wise spirits that you can each day at your command. Then soar in heights unknown until you are healed in mind soul and spirit heading back to earth that you have received in the silence when you ask and then receive, give thanks. Ah, though great divine spirit and loved ones that come close to me I give thank for the prayer that you answered when I said save my boy, the loved one of earth now in spirit. Who am I, so small, that

you heard the call and answered. Again I bow my head in thanks trying and believing that I will see that. I remain good and true always guided by truth love and have faith in thee.


march 12th 1928 

a letter from Frank was shown to me this morning. This is what it appeared to me. 

Dear Ma

I am alright and happy. Think of me just away doing well and that you will hear from time to time from me. Always thinking of home and love for all, hoping you will be as happy as you can be feeling in the space and time on rejoicing that I have gained a new place; not a stranger in a strange land but many faces. I see that seem to know me. And they lead me and guide me, with the thought always before me that I will be able to come into the home and you will know. And then I can help you. So don’t think it was a great sorrow that you have to dwell in but a great gain for you and me. Listen, Ma Dear the best place yep. Keep on thinking that yes, I see you. I went with you to see his mother. Keep on. Don’t turn to the right or left. Keep straight ahead. They would harm shall stand just where they are. Yes, poor Pa, I see him. I know when he thinks about me. I will (----) again like Clousy [Clowes] from Florida. Cecil heard me. Ernest thinks about me. I with he was happy now. He will soon be working. Better days are showing ahead

love oh love love


P.S. Bill, Vernie and all of them, I think of them and all the old times. Tell Vernie don’t cry, Vernie everything is all right. Good night.


March 13th 1928

Dear Ma

No time, no place, just a great big place, always on the move. Always something new. I was glad everyone received my message. All but Clousy. It seems like collecting all your thought on one big whole. I am beginning to know and understand. I am not sorry it all happened as it did. It seemed like floating. Now I know. Don’t be sorry for anything. Just listen and I will be around. I wouldn’t want to be back in the old way. But glad I know that I can come into the home. The circle will never be broken. I am and will be one of you. That will be seen later. Of all the wonders that I passed through sometimes it seemed like being on a great wave that was always on the move. There came times when I could see through. Sometimes I would see you all--Sad- And I wished you could see it as it was, not with doubts and downcast. You heared me saying, Of course not. I could vibrate that and thought if I could of that I would be able to get something more through. I have heard ringing. something like this: The winds and waves, they shall all obey thy will. Peace. Be still. It sounded great. Something like the radio. There is a great wave that will wash over you. Then all old things will be washed away. Everything will be new. Remember I am alright. Just keep on to the end of the way. I will come nearly every day. Will go with you someday. I have no fear. Good ahead.

Love, Ah love


From out of the Silent throng 

March 14th 1928 

Dear Mother

I come on the wave of the morning. You know I am not so far away. We don’t stand still. I haven’t got so very far but what I have learned is very clear and I am happy expecting something to be shown to me. I sense that I will see clearer and be able to get just a little farther. I was weary and my feet and legs bothered me so much that sometimes I go through again, but have been placed in the healing power class. I wonder sometimes how you learned it of knowing those things. There was no beginning you just tuned in. And I am going to find out a lot and tell you. Sometimes it’s light and sometimes clouded and shaky, but no grief. Know I think of you all, then I look and wonder, but will soon be so I will get it clear; the soldiers on the fields and the great white Pope that walked beside. You will get well and stand before the people as you have been told you would. I have a lot to work out yet but am happy you know. Yes love oh love


from a land that knows no sorrow

I can feel her pain right in the pit of my stomach. The poor woman managed to calm herself this way, and at the same time, gives us an extremely personal peek into her heart. It's so touching. 

1. Massachusetts, Department of Public Health, Deaths, 1927, Lawrence, reg. no. 1056, Franklin D. Jones, 4 December 1927; certified copy issued by the Bureau of Vital Records and Statistics, Columbia Point, Boston, Mass.

28 September 2010

My Mother's Genealogy Research Log/Travel Diary from May 1981

Three of four sisters and five siblings
Abbie (Barnes) Thompson, Priscilla (Barnes) FitzGerald
and Louise (Barnes) Sullivan, later Dodds
circa 1980, Scituate, Mass.
I miss my mother every day. She was so alive with curiosity and humor and integrity and love. Above all, she was really, really bright. Had a great memory and could, inter alia, calculate math problems in her head, knit argyle socks on size 0 needles, do the NY Times crossword in pen if she wanted (she was too humble to do so), tend a mean vegetable and flower garden, cane chairs, and she loved history and genealogy. She was patient and worked hard at everything and didn't get many official vacations, so she used everyday opportunities to have fun. I keep wishing she were around to experience genealogy on the web, and the big conferences, and all of the fun and rewarding things I get to do.

Happily, my mother, Priscilla, or "Ma," as I called her, kept the a few diaries in her lifetime. On this occasion, she and my Aunt Abbie managed to get away from their domestic duties long enough to go on genealogy tour! And happily again, she kept a diary of the trip. I just love this more than I can explain. I was flitting around in college at the time, totally NOT interested in genealogy, glad that my mother and aunt could have a grand time together, but thinking their research and interest in genealogy was, well, quaint. Now I'd forfeit a limb to have been on that trip with them. Such is life, I guess. "Don't it always seem to go," yada yada...

So, here it is, I know I have some photos of their trip in my office somewhere, but it will have to remain for another time that I unearth and post them. I added a few follow-up emails from my darling and equally brilliant Aunt Abbie which she wrote after I sent her the transcription.

Notes from Priscilla FitzGerald’s Diary, 
"Trip to Frederickton, New Brunswick with sister Abbie Thompson, for Purpose of Ancestor Hunting"
May, 1981

Wednesday, May 20, 1981
Left home at 9:45am. Take off at 11:20. Lovely seat, companion from Phoenix Arizona - said, "Don't make me look out the window or the plane will fall." Had to put down and go through customs in Yarmouth. Arrived in Halifax 2:30 or so. Had to wait for Provincial Air lines flight to Fredericton until 6:30. Arr. in Fredericton 7:25. Abbie already familiar with the city. Had late supper of seafood chowder which was yummy. Late to bed – long after 12. (In parenthesis in margin, "Called Jim.")

Thursday, May 21, 1981
Had breakfast at hotel (Hotel Beaverbrook). To the Archives at 8:30. Had lunch at Keddy Motel. To Archives until 5:00pm. Bought book at Archives autographed by author Rob't Fellows. Found that John Hagerman owned land where the Legislative buildings are (and Hotel Beaverbrook) and died on the way back to St. John after a trip to Fredericton. Shopped for food and booze, came back to hotel to sample same. Had a late supper and went to bed late. (In margin, "Called Hagermans to tell Doris we would be out Sunday.")

Friday May 22, 1981
Slept until 7:20. Five minutes late getting to the Archives. Found Peleg Tripp's parents were Peleg Tripp and Jane Ogden. Lovely late dinner – fish dinner. Sitting around relaxing and Abbie says, "One nice thing about this trip, no phones are ringing." Phone rang. Paul Brewer called and arranged to travel with us Saturday. Played 2-handed bridge. To bed late.

Saturday, May 23, 1981
Up at 6:00am - breakfasted on cheese omelet. Picked up Paul Brewer across the river and went to Tripp Settlement, Burtt's Corners. Jones Forks examining cemetaries. Saw where the Mactaquac Dam has risen and filled up the valley with water. Paul talked to a Harry Gilbey and he says that prob. Peleg Tripp (the first – Loyalist) was prob. buried on a ridge near Keswick Ridge on his own property. Said Peleg was supposed to be a wheeler-dealer. Had lunch at the lovely Mactaquac Country Club. Went shopping for booze for Jim, present for Polly and slippers. Raw and very windy out. Walked a long way looking for a book store – which was closed. Late supper and late to bed.

Sunday, May 24, 1981
Rose early enough, but didn't get under weigh until 7:20. Motored up to Hartland to see and drive over and back on the longest wooden bridge in the world. Came back down #2 highway and crossed the river at Nackawic. Had a little difficulty finding our Hagermans, but found them. First, we went to church and there was Neil Hagerman. (Passed a church with the steeple lying on the ground.) Doris and Neil Hagerman not very interested in our visit, but Donnie was there and we both loved him. He took us down to show us how high the river had risen – their house would be about one third of the way across the river – showed us all the pictures of the family and went with us to see the Bear Island Cemetery – where his father and mother, grandfather and mother and great grandfather and mother and Aunt Maud and Cousin Alma Lint are buried.*  Beautiful cemetery on a high hill. Donald is a lovely man. Weather fine. People boating on the river. Found that "Captain J. Hagerman d. 1838 aged LVI also May his wife died Dec. 26, 1849 aged 72 years." were bd. there. Mary was born in Long Island. Also buried, but with no stones were Isaac and Louisa and Jacob and Mehitabel. Myles Hagerman was buried in B. I. Cemetery also. (Donnie's brother.) Major domo at church presented Ab and me with a pen and key ring. All kinds of birds to be seen. Donnie stated matter-of-factly that Doris is "senile now." No apologies. No glossing.
Happy hour.
Had a fisherman's platter for dinner. (Ate junk food and nothing else all day.) Wrote cards. To bed late.
*Probably Cornelius, father of Jacob, and his wife are there, too, but nobody knows. Because of the Mactaquac Dam, Church, cemetery, inhabitants, live inhabitants and all were moved uphill. Interesting. Cornelius was son of Captain John. Donnie gave Abbie a piece of yellow brick for her fireplace. (In margin, "Called Jim, Louise and Anne.")

May 25, 1981 Monday
Up early and to Archives. Found that Betsey Smith's parents were Stephen Smith and Elizabeth Golden. A good find. Had lunch at the Keddy – onion soup and a poor drink. Back to Archives until 4:00pm or so and then to Harriet Irving Library and then to Geary to see the Carr Cemetery and then around Grand Lake to see Cumberland Point where John Stillwell was at one time – Sparsely settled. Looked in all the church yards but couldn't find any Stillwells. Crossed the St. John River on a ferry boat and came home the scenic way. Arrived at hotel 8:30 had a quick sherry and braised beef for supper. All the apple orchards are in bloom. Very pretty. Also found Grandmother Jones (Isaac Hagerman's family), and Jared Jones (Darius Jones' family) in the 1881 census list. He was 20 and she was 12.

Tuesday, May 26, 1981
Up early – breakfasted at hotel and got to Archives at 8:30. Didn't find anything new but tied up loose ends of a couple of things. Had to get stamps and get my money out of hotel safe, so we came back to hotel to have lunch. Returned to Archives and spent an hour or more and then took a tour up around Kewsick Ridge and Burtt's Corner and looked at 3 or 4 more cemeteries. Rain off and on. Returned to hotel about 7:30. Had happy hour and ate an enormous and delicious and expensive dinner across the street at the Victoria and Albert restaurant. Had 2 sherries, a tossed salad, lamb chops and braised tomatoes, and tasty mushrooms and then half a piece of fresh strawberry cheesecake and coffee. Saw beautiful scenes on our trip today and yesterday and Sunday and Saturday. Came upon 2 young men stranded in the wilderness but as I had a lot of money on me, we passed them by. But stopped at the first house we saw to report that they should be helped. Hope they were. (In parenthesis in margin, "Called Jim.")

E-mail from Ab. Oct. 1997
My Loyalist number is----MC  2041-80, and I think it was through John Stillwell. They wanted me to go through Hagerman because it was closer to my generation.  But I knew that would then go through Vernetta, and we had no birth for her. Stillwell came down through Jared Jones so was easier to prove. Maybe I can send you my line. If I can find it. Lots of Loyalists we have--Hagerman, Ogden, maybe Tripp, Smith, Stillwell, Boone, Burtt, Golden, Foreman, Carr, Whelpley, but not the Joneses. They were pre-Loyalist.

E-mail from
Ab. 11/7/97
Thank you for the diary of your Ma's re that week in Fredericton, N.B. Except when I was a little girl and sick a lot in winter & your Ma would read lovely books to me that week was the nicest time I ever had with Priscilla. We were doing what we both loved and had a peachy time besides.

17 September 2010

Justice of the Peace Records and Silvanus "Who's Your Daddy" Savage, Part 2

Continued from previous post. This is the second of two paternity complaints sworn again the aptly named Silvanus Savage. Analysis will follow in yet another post.

 This is Part Two of a Three-Part Post. 
Click here for Post Three.

Polly Clark vs. Silvanus Savage1

“To Michael Gill Esq one of the Justices of the Peace
within and for the County of Worcester ––

Complains Polly Clark of Princeton in said County
single woman that on the twentysecond day of february last she was
delivered of a Male Bastard Child and that Silvanus
Savage of Princeton aforesaid Blacksmith is the Father of
said Child   She therefore desires a prosecution against the
said Silvanus Savage and that he may be held to Answer
this accusation as the Law in such cases directs ––
Princeton May 27, 1802 [original signature] Polly Clark

Worcester ss. May 2[  ] [sic] 1802 The above named Polly Clark ––
personally appeared and made Oath to the truth of the
above accusation by her signed. ––
before me      [original signature] Michael Gill Just Pacis

The examination of Polly Clark of Princeton in the County of Worcester Single Woman
who saith upon Oath that on the twentysecond day of february
last she was delivered of a Male bastard Child and that
Silvanus Savage of Princeton aforesaid is the Father of said
Child he having begotten the same on the twentieth day
of June last at Princeton aforesaid
     [original signature] Polly Clark

Worcester ss Taken and Sworn to before me this twentyseventh
day of May AD 1802
  [original signature] Michael Gill Just Pacis

Transcribed verbatim, 13 October 2006, by Polly Kimmitt

1. Princeton, Worcester, Massachusetts, complaint of paternity, Polly Clark vs. Silvanus Savage,  executed and acknowledged 27 May 1802, Michael Gill, Justice of the Peace. From a private collection; unlabelled 9” x 15” blue vinyl 3-ring binder, second page (unnumbered). Provenance prior to present collection is unknown. 

To be continued!

Justice of the Peace Records and Silvanus "Who's Your Daddy" Savage, Part 1

This is Part One of a Three-Part Post. 
Click here for Post Two
Click here for Post Three.

Justices of the Peace
In Massachusetts the Justice of the Peace was the official to whom minor complaints were made. He was entitled to take depositions, impose fines, order property seizures, perform marriages, and try small cases (no jury). Since this lowest court was usually held in the justice’s home, the resultant records are scattered about in repositories and private collections, and are extremely difficult to locate. These complaints would initiate a subsequent court case, so a search in the county courthouse may prove fruitful.

I'm lucky enough to have a good friend who is a historian with an encyclopedic mind and a great collection. When it came time for me to prepare the "applicant-supplied document" in my certification portfolio, he came up with two delicious documents for me to analyze. I will blog about them separately so as not to make my posts too long, but they are interrelated. I love them for the genealogical questions they bring up and because you can almost feel the emotions they generate.

They concern two distinct complaints of paternity sworn by two women against the same man on the same day! And the man has the self-fulfilling name of Silvanus Savage. Being a respectable woman and all, I can't tell you the translation from Latin form into Anglo-Saxon, but it makes me laugh.

 A Complaint of Paternity: Debby Smith vs. Silvanus Savage1

"Τo Michael Gill Esq. one of the Justices of the Peace
within and for the County of Worcester––

Complains Debbyah Smith of Princeton in said
County Singlewoman That on this twenty seventh day
of May AD 1802 she was delivered of a Female Bastard
Child and that Silvanus Savage of the same Princeton Blacksmith
is the father of said child   She therefore desires a prosecution
against the said Silvanus Savage and that he may be held
to answer this accusation as the Law in such cases
Princeton May 27th 1802 –             [original signature] Debby Smith

Worcester ss. May 27. 1802. Debbyah Smith above named
made oath to the truth of the above Accusation by
her signed –– before me   [original signature] Michael Gill

The Examination of Debbyah Smith of Princeton in the
County of Worcester Single woman who saith upon
oath that on this twenty seventh day of May AD 1802
she was delivered of a female Bastard Child and that
Silvanus Savage of said Princeton Blacksmith  . is the father of said
child, he having begotten the same on the Ninth day
of October Last at Princeton aforesaid.
                                 [original signature] Debby Smith

Worcester ss. Taken and Sworn to before me the Subscriber one
of the Justices of the Peace for the said County of
Worcester this twentyseventh day of May AD 1802
  [original signature] Michael Gill

Transcribed verbatim, 12 October 2006, by Polly Kimmitt.

1. Princeton, Worcester, Massachusetts, complaint of paternity, Debby Smith vs. Silvanus Savage, executed and acknowledged 27 May 1802, Michael Gill, Justice of the Peace. From private collection; unlabelled 9” x 15” blue vinyl 3-ring binder, first page (unnumbered). Provenance prior to private collection is unknown.

To be continued!

16 September 2010

Treasures from a Church Fair

Sweet little church, Kings Landing Historical Settlement, New Brunswick

I was the Church Historian at the First Congregational Church in Shrewsbury for about six years. In 1998 I met my predecessor, Barbara Santon, when I was taking the National Genealogical Society's Basic Course in American Genealogy. One assignment was to go to a church and learn about their archives. Barbara was the Church Historian and was so friendly and welcoming I loved her instantly! We must have talked and laughed for three hours that day, and before I left she was already grooming me to take over, as I happened along just as her term was ending. Lucky me!

Barbara called herself "The Hat Lady" because she loved to wear fancy hats: not the Red Hat Society kind of hats, but classy, British wedding-type hats. Gloves, too! She was smart as a whip, a very snappy dresser, had a bawdy sense of humor and was a dedicated worker. Anyway, one of the many talents Barbara shared with the church was her ability to organize a church fair. She had a favorite poem which she had unearthed in the archives. Though it describes a springtime fair, I thought it appropriate for the season, as in New England, we tend to have lots of fairs in the Fall due to our gorgeous yearly pageantry of color.

The poem had no source attributed, but seemed to be written by the ladies in the congregation who were organizing the fair.


Thrice welcome are ye all, kind friends,
To meet us here today,
Ye’ve called to see our fairy things
This twenty-fourth of May.

We welcome thee, for here thine eyes
With pleasure shall behold
A multitude of pretty things
All ready to be sold.

Here is a beau for some fair lass,
All dressed in sailor’s clothes,
He will ne’er give thee one cross look,
Nor will he come to blows.

Here is a lady gay and prim,
Say, will you buy her too?
Her clothes are fine, and then her cheeks
Are of the reddest hue.

Here’s pin-balls, cheats, and needle-books,
Of various form and size,
And hearts rejoice with Scripture lines
To make you truly wise.

Here’s dickeys, ruffled bosoms too,
For gentlemen to wear,
And for the ladies, turbans, nets
Which will preserve the hair.

Here’s tulips, cherries, flowers, to sell,
With baskets, boxes fine.
And racks to hold the ladies’ cards,
And useful in their line.

Come buy; the object’s truly good;
The poor and needy claim
A portion of your liberal hand;
They’ll thank you for the same.

It is more blessed, as we read,
To give than to receive,
And we shall feel the promise sure,
If we this truth believe.

And now we proffer you our thanks,
And ask you for a share,
And hope you never will repent
Of coming to our Fair.

First Congregational Church, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

I can't find access info on this year's fair, but here's a newspaper announcement from a couple of years ago.

SATURDAY, OCT. 25, 2008
Church Fair — The First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury plans a Church Fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to the “gems” at the always-popular Jewelry Table, there will be jams and jellies, baked goods, knit and craft goods and plants for sale. There will also be a Silent Auction, Flea Market and Cookie Walk. The First Congregational Church is the Church on the Green in the center of Shrewsbury at Main Street and Route 140. All are welcome.

14 September 2010

Honoring Col. Timothy Bigelow

A few years ago our DAR chapter organized a ceremony to celebrate the restoration of a monument erected to our chapter namesake, Col. Timothy Bigelow. One of our members, Kay Kingsbury had worked for years to bring the project to fruition and for her preservation work she was recognized by the National Society as tops in New England.

A postcard of the monument
from a turn of the century postcard
Timothy Bigelow was a blacksmith in Worcester who raised a company of Worcester men and fought long and hard in the American Revolution. He died penniless in a Worcester jail. I won't say much about him now, but thought I'd include the few words I was asked to say on that occasion, as Regent of the Col. Timothy Bigelow Chapter.

Let Us Pray.
Heavenly Father,
Grant us the wisdom to consider our past. In every age, You call upon us to defend the human family from oppression, tyranny, and evil. Since our founding as a nation "conceived in liberty," countless Americans have stepped forward to defend these principles. 

We gather today to remember Col. Timothy Bigelow, Worcester’s greatest soldier... It is good to commemorate brave deeds. It is an homage due to our heroic dead, and it reminds the living of the courage and self-sacrifice of earlier champions of our freedom and independence... Monuments are silent monitors, richly eloquent in the teachings of a bygone age... By honoring Col. Timothy Bigelow, Worcester honors herself. Help us to remember that what great Americans have achieved, we are expected to guard and maintain.

We ask Your blessing on all veterans past and present, and we pray for our troops and their families, and for the peace we all seek. Amen.

Thanks to Kay
On behalf of the Colonel Timothy Bigelow Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, I would like to thank Kay Kingsbury for her tireless efforts in the enormous project of the restoring this monument. She has been relentless in her pursuit of recognition of Colonel Bigelow, and is a great friend to the city of Worcester. Thank you, Kay!

Newly restored with a magnolia wreath
This monument was first erected 147 years ago. It was dedicated, 86 years after the Battle of Lexington started the Revolutionary War, on April 19, 1861. The dedication was not a small affair. Buildings throughout the city were festooned with red, white and blue bunting. Spectators thronged the streets. It was more than a ceremony to them. It was a remembrance of the sacrifices made by their ancestors to secure their freedom. And it was a patriotic rally, since at that moment, Worcester’s troops were enroute to the South, eager to do battle for their country’s imperilled rights in the Civil War. Sentiments were strong, and the air was thick with patriotic fervor. They did not take freedom for granted.

A cortege of carriages paraded through the streets, carrying honored guests such as present and past Mayors, ex-Governor Lincoln, Stephen Salisbury, Col. Lawrence Bigelow, and countless other dignitaries. They were accompanied by Captain Waldo Lincoln’s Company D, fire engines, hose companies, several bands, and Father Mathew of the Temperance Society. There must have been a lot of noise and activity on that April day as all were cheered on by the citizens of Worcester.

Today, our gathering is more modest, but we are here because we do not forget the sacrifices made for our benefit.

Let Us Pray
Lord, protect us each and every one.
Inspire us to be peaceful on this planet we call home,
for all the world is our family.

We give our heartfelt thanks for America's independence
So courageously fought for and won, because of the bravery and strength shown by men like the one we honor here, Col. Timothy Bigelow.

With appreciation for others having cleared the way, ...
for a land of opportunity where freedom is a given for all...
We give our humble thanks.

Finally, we again ask Your blessing on all veterans past and present and we pray for our troops and their families. Amen.

Some members of the Col. William Henshaw Chapter of the SAR and
the Col. Timothy Bigelow Chapter of the DAR. Kay Kingsbury is front and center.

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04 September 2010

Back to School in 1867

The smell of schoolbooks and new shoes is in the air and that can only mean "Back to School!" I imagine there was just as much September excitement 150 years ago as there is today. My great-grandfather, Israel Merritt Barnes Jr., or II (there would eventually be four IMBs), was born in 1861 and I am lucky enough to be the caretaker of some of his school papers.

Little Israel attended school in Boston and his doting parents saved some of his papers. One card, dated only Saturday, 1867, and addressed to Issi Barns, is from a Boston Primary School: “A card of approbation awarded to Issi Barns for Industry, Good Conduct, and Punctuality, during the past week,” and signed by A. J. Baker. Israel would have been 6 years old in September of that year––a first grader. I'm glad to see that even that long ago teachers recognized that approval is a wonderful motivator.

Another card reads; “Reward Card, Maxim: Patience is a remedy for every affliction,” and on the reverse the teacher has written, “To Issie Barnes, A persevering boy, May 22nd, 1869. C. A. Robbins.” All I can say to that is "Awwwww!" 

A series of weekly reports show Israel's grades at the Chauncy-Hall School, a boys school founded in 1828, which eventually merged with two other schools and is still in existence. It was originally located on what is now the site of Macy's in Boston's Downtown Crossing. The school's website says that it "trained the children of wealthy Bostonians for careers in business, and later prepared students to attend Harvard, MIT and other prestigious colleges. Chauncy Hall was known for its many innovations in education, including using literature for reading lessons..."

His 1872 report cards reflect a well behaved young man who attended regularly and scored above average in most classes, usually receiving a 5.5-6.0 on a scale of 7, which was given “only for extraordinary merit.” A grade of 4 was “merely passable.” Some of the subjects he was graded on when he was still ten years old: Reading, Spelling, Writing, Grammar, Geography, History, French, Latin, Arithmetic, Natural History, Defining, Declamation, Deportment, and Attendance. Four reports from 1873, spanning the entire year, show more variation. What a difference a year makes in the life of a child. He received many more 7’s: in arithmetic, defining, geometry, and algebra; but also one 3 in deportment, about which the teacher noted on the back, “If no other low mark is incurred this shall be excluded.” I wonder what he was up to? This sort of report is all-too familiar to this mother of three boys. "I didn't do anything!"

In 1875 he participated in Chauncy Hall’s 47th Annual Exhibition at the Boston Music Hall. Better students were asked to participate in a show of readings, declamations and singing, and Israel Jr. was chosen to read “Man as a Processionist.” It is hard to imagine the children enjoying this exhibition, as among other things, they were required to sit through both the triumphal march and the finale from Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin. I'm sure they at least learned patience, if not a love of opera. I found a timeline of the school which tells us that it was one of the first to provide "apparatus for physical exercise." In addition, around the start of the Civil War they organized school companies for martial drill and parade. Israel was not yet a student.

Israel completed his schooling by graduating from Boston English High School in 1877, a few months shy of his sixteenth birthday. Wikipedia says that it was founded in 1821, the first public high school in America, to provide an education for working class boys, giving them training in business, mechanics, and trades. 
At that time the school was located right next door to Boston Latin High School, which, on the other hand, prepared boys for college, the ministry and other scholarly pursuits. The two schools have a healthy rivalry, and their boys have competed in football against one another every Thanksgiving since 1887! Israel was a big fellow, but I don't know if he played football for them.

It is comforting to me at this time of year to think about all of the students returning to school, just as their parents and grandparents did. One thing I'm sure of is that if I could travel in time, the kids would seem the most familiar aspect of anything I could find. Human nature hasn't changed much. I bet half of the mothers cried, half did a happy dance when their little scholars went off in September, just as they do now!
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31 August 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Animals!

Browsing around in my husband's photos folder tonight, I came across this photo. We took it in June of 1989 when we were newlyweds touring across Ireland. We were at Powerscourt Estate near Enniskerry, County Wicklow, Ireland. It is an absolutely stunning estate, dating back to the 13th century, and though they had had a fire a few years before we visited, it was still lovely in its opulence. This whole cemetery was for pets. I remember being annoyed at the time that animals would have an entire cemetery to themselves while my own ancestors were lost in a maze of unmarked graves covered by brambles.

Jersey Cow
Died 1967 aged 17 years
She had 17 calves and produced
over 100,000 gallons of milk

Aberdeen Angus Cow
Died 1972 aged 11 years
3 times Dublin Champion

I browsed the web a bit and found this more recent photo which shows just how much moss and dirt it has gathered in the 21 years since we photographed it. 

March 16th 1905.
Irish Terriers
Faithful friends for
12 years.

Yup, I know it's a class thing, but it still rankles to have my "bog Irish" great-grandparents lying in some unknown spot whilst Jyp & Tim get the timeless memorial.

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29 August 2010

Revolutionary War Pension Application File, Reuben Damon / Daman

So many ancestors, so VERY little time!! I was just cleaning up my hard drive when I came across a Revolutionary War Pension file for my 4th great grandfather, Reuben Damon. I had downloaded it from Heritage Quest several years ago.  At the time I was thrilled with the fact that it was available online. I downloaded all 6 pages of it and haven't thought of it again until today. 

You may not be aware of it, but Heritage Quest, which is accessible through many libraries,  has a database of "selected" Revolutionary War pension application files. They are taken from the National Archives and Records Administration "selected" series, which means NARA went through and picked out those files they thought genealogists might want to see, and filmed them. Heritage Quest put them online, which seemed altogether miraculous at the time. BUT they only contain the pages of the selected series. The other, more complete microfilm series contains all pension and bounty land records, but was probably much too large for Heritage Quest to tackle at the time. As a result this database is woefully incomplete, something that might be overlooked by a new researcher. Not only that but the images are shot at a low resolution and very grainy, as you'd expect for earlier technology. Here is one page, plus a detailed shot. 

In the years since I downloaded the HQ file, has come online, and bless them, they have complete Revolutionary War pension files (along with hundreds of other records types). So off I rushed to check their version. I used to have a stand-alone subscription to their site, but my subscription ran out on 28 July of this year. I knew that NEHGS had an agreement with Footnote and we were supposed to be able to get a discount on it through our membership with them, so I went hunting for that information.

From what I can tell, NEHGS and Footnote no longer have this agreement. I found an old link to the offer being the brazen beast I am, clicked on it. Though it was supposed to have expired in February, my transaction went through. So I'm okay for another year!

Here is the much easier to read version. This one has 23 pages.

Reuben Daman's file is a moderate 27 pages long. Exactly which of these pages did the HQ people select? One was the index card, so that left only 5 pages of information. Suffice to say, lots was left out of the HQ file.The clerk had extremely neat handwriting and his spelling was impeccable, even by today' standards, though punctuation is a bit wobbly at times. Our pensioner's memory is very good, and he has witnesses to most of his service, including, wondrously enough, Samuel Deane, author of the History of Scituate! I feel I must run to that book now and see if he speaks of his buddy Reuben, knowing that anything he said about him was likely first-hand information.

To transcribe the file I created a document in my Mac word processing program, Pages. It has facing pages so that I can insert the pension page on the left and transcribe it on the right side. This makes it easy to compare and contrast.

Pension files contain a wealth of information about the pensioner, his family, his war service, his buddies and his era. The absolute best part is that we get it in the pensioner's own words. Below is the first part of his file, not in Reuben's words, but tells what he was up to during the Revolution. I like to think I got my interest in the flute from Reuben, Fifer! I started here with's page 4 of the file, just because I thought was the most interesting and concise portion. I will do the rest later and probably upload it to my new website (in progress). Don't look for it soon, but I plan to put up transcriptions and little histories, etc. 

This is what it will look like.

Here is the version. So much easier on the eyes.

State of Massachusetts }
County of Plymouth       }  ss.
On this twenty second day of August A.D. 1832 personally
appeared in open Court, before the Honl Wilkes Wood Judge of the
Court of Probate for the said County of Plymouth, now sitting
at Hanover in said County, Reuben Damon a Resident of
Scituate in the said County of Plymouth & State of Massachusetts
aged seventy three years, who being first duly sworn according
to law, doth on his oath make the following delaration in
order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7th 1832.
That he entered the service of the United States under
the following named officers and served as herein stated to wit:
1st In August or Sepr of 1776 he entered said service as a
private and did the duty of Fifer in the Company commanded by
Joseph Stetson, Lieut. Bemjamin Studley and Ensign Benj Holmes,
marched to Roxbury was stationed there a short time, then marched
to Boston, and was stationed near [Acmoody’s] lane, there was one
other Company there at the same time. his duty to guard the town 
and public stores. he served three months, was then discharged
and returned home to Scituate. He can prove this service by
Charles Turner, who served with him and his deposition is annexed.
2d In the month of May A.D. 1777. He volunteerd and went
to Castle William in Boston harbour, was employed in repairing
and rebuilding the fortifications which the Brittish troops had de=
molished on their leaving Boston, the Engineer under whom he
served was Coll Burbeck. he served three months was then
discharged and returned hom to Scituate, he knows of no one 
living by whom he can prove this service and his deposition is
3d In the month of July as he thinks A.D. 1778 he
entered said service as a private in the Company commanded
by Joseph Cliff of Marshfield, the other Officers not recollected
he with two other soldiers went directly to Howland’s Ferry, and
there joined said Company, in August crossed the Ferry to Rhode
Island. his Company was attached to Col Thayers’ Regiment as he
thinks. Genl Sullivan was commander in chief. The American
troops remained on the Island about three weeks after he joined
them, then they all retreated before the British troops, and his
Regiment retreated over Howland’s Ferry to Tiverton, then marched
to Providence, then to Patuxett and there continued to the end
of his term he having served, one month & 19 days he was then dis=
charged and returned home to Scituate the last of October as he
thinks. he can prove this service by Francis Litchfield who
served with him and his deposition is hereto annexed. Also see
the Certificate of the Secretary of the State of Massachusetts annexed, in which
he is who stated to have served four days more in the Lexington Alarm
4th In April A.D. 1779. he entered said service as a private
in the Company commanded by Captain Wilder, the other Officers (not)

[new page]
recollected, went to Nantaskett, joined said Company was there
stationed and served to the end of his term, he having served three
months, was then discharged and returned home to Scituate, there
was a Company of Artillery commanded by Peter Nichols stationed
there at the same time. he knows of no one living by whom
he can prove this service.
5th In July as he thinks A.D. 1780 he entered said service
as a private in Cap Amos Turner’s Company, Lieut Benjn Stetson
Ensign Nathl Brooks, marched to Howland’s Ferry and crossed over
to Newport on Rhode Island. his Company was attached to Coll John
Jacob’s Regiment, Lieut Col John Clapp, After serving with said Regt.
four or five weeks, he with three others of his Company was detached to
tend Howland’s Ferry and so continued untill the end of his term, and
having served four months. he was discharged and returned home.
Elisha Briggs who served in the same Company with him can prove
this service, his disposition is annexed.

He served in all as aforesaid fourteen months & 19 days, he never
received a written discharge, nor has he any documentary evidence
of his service.
He was born in Scituate the 13th day of February 1759.
His birth is recorded in the town Records of Scituate. He lived in
Scituate when he entered said service and has always lived there,
He volunteered or enlisted into each tern of service aforesaid
he was in no instance drafted, nor was he a substitute. He
has named all the officers under whom he served that now recollects
also all the important circumstances of his service.
He is known in his present neighborhood to Samuel Deane
Samuel A. Turner and others who can testify as to his character
for veracity and their belief of his services as a soldier of the
Reuben Daman (signature)
He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension
or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the
pension roll of the agency of any State.
Reuben Daman (signature)
Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.
Attest Jacob H. Loud Register
We Samuel Deane       a clery man residing in the town
of Scituate in the County of Plymouth and State of Massachusetts
and Samuel A. Turner     residing in the same town hereby
certify that we are well acquainted with Reuben Damon who
has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration, that we believe
[new page]
him to be seventy three years of age, that he is reputed and believed
in the neighbourhood where he resides, to have been a soldier of the
Revolution, and that we concur in that opinion_
Samuel Deane (signature)
Samuel A. Turner (signature)

Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid,
Attest Jacob H. Loud Register
And the said Court do hereby declare their opinion after
the investigation of the matter and after putting the interrogatories
prescribed by the War Department, that the above named applicant
was a revolutionary soldier and served as he states, And the Court
further certifies that it appears to them that Samuel Deane who
has signed the preceding certificate is a clergyman resident in the
said town of Scituate and that Samuel A. Turner who has
also signed the same is a resident in the same town and is a 
credible person and that their statement is entitled to credit.
By the Court attest Jacob H. Loud Register
I Jacob H. Loud Register of the said Court of
Probate do hereby certify that the foregoing contains the original
proceedings of the said Court in the matter of the application of
Reuben Damon for a pension.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and
seal of said Court   this twenty second day of August in the year of
our Lord one thousand eight hundred & thirty two,
Jacob H. Loud

Here is a lovely record of his birth, something commonly found in Revolutionary War pension files.