Kimmitt Genealogical Research

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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