Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Capt. Benjamin Thom, Revolutionary War Patriot, died 1811, Windham, New Hampshire

This tombstone was photographed at the Cemetery on the Hill, Windham, New Hampshire

In Memory of
Who died
June 2, 1811
AEt. 64
And of
his wife, who died
May 5, 1817
AEt. 70

Benjamin Thom, son of William Thom of Scotland and Northern Ireland, was born 1747 and died 2 June 1811 in Windham, aged 64 years.  He married Catharine Morison, died May 5, 1815, aged 70 years, the daughter of Lieutenant Samuel Morison of Londonderry, and great granddaughter of the immigrant John Morrison from Northern Ireland.

Captain Benjamin Thom lived in the “Range” and served as a selectman of Windham for five years. They had six children: Samuel, William Wear, Isaac, Benjamin, Elizabeth and Martha.   He had the title “Captain” and an SAR flag on his grave, and I found his name on a list of Windham men who signed the Association test.  At Fold3.com I found Benjamin Thom received a bounty of ninety pounds for one years service in the Continental Army, dated 19 July 1779. 

For the Thom Family genealogy, see page 787 of The History of Windham in New Hampshire, by Leonard Morrison, 1883.

You can see his son’s tombstone, Isaac Thom and children, at this link:


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Capt. Benjamin Thom, Revolutionary War Patriot, died 1811, Windham, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 25, 2017, (http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/04/capt-benjamin-thom-revolutionary-war.html: accessed [access date]). 

Monday, April 24, 2017

My Grandmother's Diary ~ Part 20, August 31 - September 11, 1920

Gertrude's brother, Arthur Russell Hitchings ( 1897 - 1967),
married Ethel Elizabeth Coleman in 1920.  He served
in Germany during World War 1, just a few
years before these diary entries were written. 

This is the 20th installment of my grandmother's diary from 1920.  Her name was Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (1905 - 2001) and she lived on Elliott Street in Beverly, Massachusetts.  I'm transcribing small sections of this tiny 3" diary, with its minuscule handwriting, and posting it at my blog every Monday.  You can read the first installment of the diary HERE.

TUES. AUG 31, 1920
Got up at 7.30 stayed
Home all morning. Ma
Sick.  After dinner went
up Bradstreet home at 5
After supper Eunice, Gladys
and I went to Russell’s.
Went to bed at 9.30

Got up at 7.30 at 10
Went downtown with
Eunice.  After dinner went
down to Marion’s.  Went
to the lawn party. After
supper up Busby’s Point
came home at 9.30  Bed at 10.30

Got up at 7.30 stayed home
until 10.30 then went to the
store.  After dinner went down
Helen’s took baby out all afternoon
stayed to supper came home at 8
Rus & Ethel down.  Bed at 9.45

NOTE:   Gertrude visited her married brother Russell with her sister Eunice and friend Gladys.  She also visited her first cousin Marion Hoogerzeil and went to a law party.  I don't know where "Busby's Point" is in Beverly.  Does anyone have a clue about this?  The next day she visited her married sister Helen and watched her baby nephew, Clemont. 

FRI. SEPT 3, 1920
Got up at 7.30 worked
around the house all morn-
ing.  Helen, Baby & Nana
came up.  Stayed home all
afternoon and read. 
After supper went to ride with
Eunice & Alice.  Bed at 9.30

Got up at 7.15 worked around
the house all morning and
afternoon.  Mr. Lowell came
over at 2.15.  Took a walk up
the store after supper.
Went to bed at 10.15.

Got up at 9.15  Mrs. Butler’s
cat got killed.  Home all morn-
ing.  After dinner went to walk
with Eunice & Ella.  Mr. Lowell
over.  Home all evening reading
Went to bed at 9.30.

NOTE:   Another visit with relatives (sister Helen, baby nephew Clemont, and her "Nana", Florence Hoogerzeil.  Riding with her sister Eunice and friend Alice.  Mr. Lowell the occasional boarder is back for the next two days. 

MON. SEPT. 6, 1920
Up at 8.45 home all the
morning, after dinner
Eunice & I went up to Ethel’s
Pa went to Haverhill.  Ellsworth &
Helen up to supper.  They went to Salem.
Eunice & I took baby home.  Came
Home at 11.  Bed at 11.45

Up at 9 had breakfast
at 9.15 stayed around the
house all morning.
After dinner went down Nana’s
had my dress fitted came
home at five.  Home all evening
sewing.  Bed at 8.45

Got up at 6:30 went to
school came home at 12.45
After dinner Eunice & I went
down Nana’s came home
got supper.  Home all the
evening. Bed at 10.

NOTE:   Gertrude and her sister Eunice went to visit their newly married sister-in-law, Ethel (married to Russell).  Pa went to Haverhill, where he did drafting work for the US Shoe Corporation of Beverly.  Gertrude's married sister, Helen, and husband, Ellsworth visited with their baby.  Gertrude finished her new dress just in time on Tuesday night, because school started up the next morning!  

THURS. SEPT. 9, 1920
Up at 6.30 went to
school home at 1.15
stayed home all afternoon
studying.  After supper
went to ride with
Rozella, came home at 8.30
Went to bed at 9.30

Up at 6.45 went to school
at 7.45 went up to Helen’s
to dinner stayed all afternoon
came home at 5. Stayed
at home all evening and
studied.  Ma & Pa over
Butlers.  Bed at 9

Up at 7.00 had breakfast
Stayed home all morning & afternoon
Working.  After supper Eunice, Ida
& I went downtown shopping then
Went to Danvers with Frank
Came home at 9.45 bed at 10.30

NOTE:   Gertrude went riding (bikes? trolleys?) with her friend Rozella.  She visited her married sister Helen.  On Saturday she went shopping with her sister Eunice and friend Ida.  Who is Frank (and she underlined this name)?  A new boyfriend?


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My Grandmother's Diary ~ Part 20, August 31 - September 11, 1920", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 24, 2017, ( http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/04/my-grandmothers-diary-august-31.html: accessed [access date]).

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Surname Saturday ~ BRAY of Salem, Massachusetts


There were two BRAY families living in Essex County at the same time period in the early 1600s.  I don't think they are related at all.  The first BRAY family I wrote about lived in Gloucester, descendants of the immigrant Thomas Bray (1614 – 1691), probably from Wales.  You can read about this BRAY family at this link: https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2015/08/surname-saturday-bray-of-gloucester.html  

Robert Bray is my other 9th great grandfather.  He lived on “The Neck” in Salem, Massachusetts near the land owned by my WEBB, BECKET, HILLIARD, and CLOUTMAN ancestors.  I don’t know his origins, or even the maiden name of his wife, Thomasin.  According to the History of Salem, by Perley, he was the captain of a ketch, which was lost at sea in 1692 with all onboard. 

His son, Robert Bray, Jr., is my 8th great grandfather.  He married Christian Collins in 1685.  Robert’s sister, Priscilla, married David Hilliard in 1689.  David Hilliard is the brother of my 9th great grandmother, Elizabeth (Hilliard) Peters (b. 1658).  Robert Bray, Jr. was also a master mariner, and he lived near the Salem Common.

My 7th great grandmother, Priscilla Bray, married Jonathan Webb in 1714. He was “cordwainer” (shoemaker), a deacon of the East Society parish church, and they lived on the corner of Derby and Hardy Streets.   In 1720, 1721 and 1722 Jonathan Webb was listed as the master of the sloop Eagle.  Priscilla and Jonathan Webb were ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne, too.

For more information:

The Driver Family: A Genealogical Memoir of the Descendants of Robert and Phebe Driver of Lynn, Mass. by Harriet Ruth Waters Cooke, 1889, see page 251 for a sketch of Robert Bray, Senior, page 252 for Robert Bray, Jr, and page 475 for Priscilla Bray and Jonathan Webb. 

“Descendants of Robert Bray of Salem”, The Essex Antiquarian, Volume XI, 1907, page 105.  

My BRAY genealogy:

Generation 1:  Robert Bray, died 1692; married Thomasine Unknown.  Four children.

Generation 2: Robert Bray, died after 1692; married on 5 November 1685 in Salem to Christian Collins, daughter of Francis Collins and Hannah Cockerill.  Five children. 

Generation 3: Priscilla Bray, born 11 March 1690 in Salem, died after 4 February 1767; married on 23 March 1714 in Salem to Jonathan Webb, son of John Webb and Susannah Cunliffe.  He was born about 1690 and died before 1765. Nine children. 

Generation 4: Mary Webb m. Joseph Cloutman
Generation 5: Joseph Cloutman m. Hannah Becket
Generation 6:  Mary Cloutman m. Abijah Hitchings
Generation 7:  Abijah Hitchings m. Eliza Ann Treadwell
Generation 8:  Abijah Franklin Hitchings m. Hannah Eliza Lewis
Generation 9:  Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 10:  Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “Surname Saturday ~ Bray of Salem, Massachusetts”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 22, 2017, (http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/04/surname-saturday-bray-of-salem.html: accessed [access date]). 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Josefa Rivero 1884 - 1937 Villar de Ciervo, Salamanca, Spain

This photo is of Vincent's great grandmother, Josefa Rivero Gonzalez.

Josefa Rivero was born 23 October 1884 in the little village of Villar de Ciervo in Salamanca, Spain.  This village is directly on the border of Portugal - there is only a tiny stream of water dividing the two countries in this village.  She was the daughter of Manuel Rivero and Orofilia Gonzalez.  Her father was a "molinero" or miller.  They had four children:  Nicolas (b. 1877), Jerman (b. 1879), Juan Mamon (b. 1880) and Josefa was the youngest.

She married Manuel Martin on 23 January 1904 in Villar de Ciervo.  He was the son of Mateo Martin and Manuela Ventura, born about 1880 in Barcelona, Spain.  He was a cattle and sheep trader, and bred "toros bravos" or sporting bulls for bullfighting.  He had a farm in Villar de Ciervo and grew grapes for wine. They had four children Maria Joaquina (b. 1904), Nicolas Martin, Luisa Antonia (b. 1906), and Maria Consuelo (b. 1908) who was the youngest and Vincent's grandmother.

Josefa died on 17 November 1937 in Villar de Ciervo.  Manuel survived his wife by many years and died on 10 September 1971 in Villar de Ciervo.

This is the only photo I have seen of Josefa.  Below is a painting we own of the Martin house in the village of Villar de Ciervo.  It was painted from the rear of the house, not the street view.  About 20 years ago we visited this home, and bought the painting from the village pharmacist. It hangs in my office, right behind my desk as I type up this blog post on my computer.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Josefa Rivero 1884 - 1937 Villar de Ciervo, Salamanca, Spain", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 21, 2017, (http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/04/josefa-rivero-1884-1937-villar-de.html: accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Above a New England Town Hall

I post another in a series of weather vane photographs every Wednesday.  This started with images of weathervanes from the Londonderry, New Hampshire area, but now I've found interesting weather vanes all across New England and across the globe.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are interesting.  Often my readers tip me off to some very unique or unusual weathervanes, too!  If you know a great weather vane near you, let me know if you'd like to have it featured on this blog.

Today's weather vane was photographed in New Hampshire by a reader.

Do you know the location of weathervane post #307?  Scroll down to find the answer.

This beautiful, gilded, three dimensional eagle weathervane was photographed by Scott Powell, who is the author of the Lake Wicwas Nature Journal blog.  Lake Wicwas is in the town of Meredith, New Hampshire.  This  weather vane is located on the cupola above the Tamworth, New Hampshire town hall.  Eagles are a popular weather vane design for town and city halls.  I've photographed quite a few of them in various poses.

Yes, Tamworth is celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2016.  It was granted in 1766 by Royal Governor Benning Wentworth in honor of the Viscount Tamworth of England.  This is the town where the Chinook sled dog breed was created, and they are now the New Hampshire state dogs. These dogs were used by Admiral Byrd on his Antarctic explorations. Tamworth is also the home of the summer theater Barnstormers, and the Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm.

Lake Wicwas Nature Journal blog  http://wicwaslake.blogspot.com/

Click here to see the entire Weathervane Wednesday series of posts!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ Above a New England Town Hall", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 19, 2017,  ( http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/04/weathervane-wednesday-above-new-england.html: accessed [access date]).

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Rev. Simon Williams, died 1793 Windham, New Hampshire

This tombstone was photographed at the Cemetery on the Hill, Windham, New Hampshire

In Memory of the
Who for twenty seven years
??? zealous Pastor of
The Church & Congregation ??
??? of the Academy ??
Who departed for heaven
November 10th, 1793 AD
And his wife, Maria Floyd Williams
Who died in the Lord
July 28th, 1805 AD

Rev. Simon Williams, born 19 February 1729 in Trim, County Meath, Ireland, died 10 November 1793 in Windham, New Hampshire; married Maria Floyd, who was also born 19 February 1729 (same day) and died 28 July 1805 in Windham.  They are both buried in Windham at the Cemetery on the Hill under this ledger stone which is almost illegible due to facing upwards over time and under the New England weather. 

According to the book by Derek Saffie Historic Tales of Windham, page 37 “Simon Williams was born in Ireland in 1729 and at the age of sixteen became engaged to a young lady of his age who was of a much higher social standing than himself.  The young woman, Maria Floyd, was the daughter of Captain John Floyd, Esquire, who served under General Honeywood in the British army.  Her parents … forbade the marriage… Simon and Maria fled to England… the couple was married on April 30, 1749 in London”

From The History of Rockingham County, New Hampshire, by Charles Hazlett, 1915,  page 731 “Rev. Simon Williams was ordained in December 1766, with a salary of about two hundred and thirty-three dollars and thirty three cents, with a settlement of $200 and the use of the parsonage.  He was pastor her for twenty-seven years, dying November 10, 1793.  He did a noble work, and his influence lives after him.  He established a private academy, which was an important tributary of Dartmouth College.”

The old meetinghouse once stood on near the Cemetery on the Hill, but it was moved by oxen to Salem, New Hampshire.  You can read about that at this link:  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2012/07/windhams-former-meetinghouse-is-in.html    

According to Leonard Morrison’s book The History of Windham, 1883, page 182,  Reverend William is buried in exact location of his pulpit before the meeting house was moved (plot #172).  However, there is also a man named Samuel Senter who was supposedly laid to rest under his former pew (plot 182).  These two gravestones are so far apart I doubt that either man was laid to rest under the meeting house.

For more information on Windham’s Cemeteries, see this PDF file:


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ Rev. Simon Williams, died 1793 Windham, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 18, 2017, ( http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/04/tombstone-tuesday-rev-simon-williams.html: accessed [access date]).

Monday, April 17, 2017

My Grandmother’s Diary ~ Part 19, August 12 – 30, 1920

My grandmother, Gertrude (left) and her friend Bea (right) at Mrs. Wilkins.
Was this photo taken in Haverhill, Massachusetts?

This is my 19th blog post with transcriptions of my grandmother’s 1920 diary from Beverly, Massachusetts.  Her name was Gertrude Hitchings (1905 – 2001) and she lived on Elliott Street.  Her diary was a tiny 3” inch book with minuscule handwriting.  It has taken a long time to transcribe, and the book is very fragile.   Every Monday I post another section of her diary.  You can read the first installment HERE

FRI. AUG. 13, 1920
Got up at 7.30 but went
back to bed again.  Mild-
red, Gordon, Eunice & I
sick.  After dinner I got up
went out to the piazza [illegible and crossed out]
Home all evening
went to bed at 9.

Got up at 7.45 worked
around the house all the
morning.  After dinner
went to the Sam Sam
had a pretty good time
we came home at
12 went to bed at 12.15.

Got up at 8.45 stayed
Home all day Mrs & Mr
Wilkins, Russell and Ethel
came down.  Went to
Bed at 10.30.

NOTE:   Gertrude and her siblings were all sick at the same time, but seemed to get better by the next day or two.  On the 14th she went "to the Sam Sam" which was a mystery to me, until my mother reminded me it was a carnival in Beverly.  According to the Beverly Historical Society, this was a festival held for the benefit of the Beverly Hospital starting in 1905. Then the festival was held at the United Shoe Machinery Corporation Athletic Asssociation. Gertrude's father was a draftsman for USMC.   "From 1913 - the 19302 the "Sam Sam" carnival was a community highlight - in 1935 approximately 40,000 attended." ( http://www.beverlyma.gov/residents/coming-to-beverly-united-shoe-machinery/ )

On the 15th Mrs and Mr. Wilkins came down (along with Gertrude's brother, Russell, and his wife, Ethel).  In the next few diary entries it appears that the Wilkins lived in Haverhill, at least they lived there in the summer. 

MON. AUG 16, 1920
Got up at 5.45 tent 6.45 car
To Danvers, then took 7.7 train [sic] to
Haverhill got here at 8.30
After dinner went down
town with Bea came
home at 4.30 stayed home
all evening.  Bed at 9.30.

Got up at 9. Bea is sick
This morning stayed at
Home all morning
And afternoon.  After supper
Took a walk downtown
Went to bed at 9.15

Got up at 9 after breakfast
went down to Mr. Wilkins’
shop.  After dinner went
to the show with Bea.  Stayed
home all evening playing
cards.  Bed at 9.45

NOTE:   On the 16th Gertrude took the train to Haverhill.  It appears that she went with her friend, Bea Wilkins, removed to Haverhill, Massachusetts. The Wilkins family appears in the Beverly 1910 census, and in the Haverhill 1920 census.  It also appears from the diary that Mr. Wilkins had a shop in downtown Haverhill (or maybe he just worked at a store).  I could not find a store in the Haverhill directory that was owned by a Mr. Wilkins.  In the 1920 census, Bea's father is listed as a machinist. 

In researching this bit about Bea moving to Haverhill, I was delighted to find her birth record (born 1 September 1906 in Hamilton, Massachusetts), but saddened to learn that she died in 1925 in Boston, Massachusetts.  She died very young, just a few years after this diary was written, and she wasn't even 20 years old. 

THURS. AUG 19, 1920
Got up at 9 went to the
store before breakfast.  Home
all morning after dinner
went to Canobie Lake
with Bea had a good
time came home at 9.00
Went to bed at 9.45

Got up at 10 went to the
store had breakfast. Stayed
home after dinner and
made fudge and read. After
supper went to the store
got an ice cream, read
and went to bed at 10.30

Got up at 9.00 after break-
fast Bea & I went up to the
castle played tennis.  Mr.
Wilkins came up brought the
Lunch came home at 8.45
went to bed at 10.00

NOTE:  I love this entry because Gertrude went to Canobie Lake Park, which is not far from Haverhill, and not far from where I lived in Londonderry, New Hampshire.  Canobie Lake Park is still an historic amusement park in Salem, New Hampshire and I blogged about it as a trolley park at this link:  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/08/canobie-lake-park-salem-new-hampshire.html  

Gertrude also mentions playing tennis at "the castle".  This refers to Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill.  It was built in 1875 as a summer estate, and donated to the city of Haverhill as a park in 1895.  It is still a park, and the castle is used for weddings, theater, craft fairs and other community events. You can read more about Winnekenni castle at this link:  http://www.winnekenni.com/  

SUN. AUG. 22, 1920
Got up at 10 stayed
at home all the morn-
ing.  In the afternoon
went to the movies with
Bea.  After supper took a walk
Up Tilton’s Tower with Mr. & Mrs.
Wilkins and Bea.  Bed at 9.15.

Got up at 9.00 stayed
Home all morning After
dinner made fudge
after supper went
downtown to do some
errands came home at
8.30 Went to bed at 9

Got up at 9 had break-
fast at 11.30 Bea and I
went to Salisbury and to Hampton
beach had a swell time
We came home at 9.30
Went to bed at 10.30

Tilton Tower, Haverhill, Massachusetts
(old postcard)

NOTE:   Tilton's Tower was a folly built by John C. Tilton of West Newbury as a 125 foot observatory for his telescope in 1887.  The tower, on Silver Hill, was removed after World War II to make room for a radio antenna.  Gertrude visited Tilton's Tower on the 22nd, and on the 24th she went with Bea to the seacoast.  Salisbury Beach had a famous amusement park and arcade, and so did Hampton Beach.  It appears that in 1920 Gertrude visited many amusement parks - I can list many from her diary:  Salem Willows, Pleasant Pond, Canobie Lake, Salisbury and Hampton.  What is amazing is that Salem Willows and Canobie Lake are still amusement parks, and Salisbury Beach still has its seaside arcade. 

I’m continuing the transcriptions for another two pages to complete the section of the diary for her vacation in Haverhill with Bea. 

WED. AUG. 25, 1920
Got up at 10. had breakfast
went to the store, after
dinner went up to the castle
played tennis, home at 6.00
stayed home all evening
and read.  Bed 9.30.

Got up at 9.00 stayed
home all morning. After
dinner Bea & I went down
town got the pictures.
Home all evening reading
went to bed at 10.

Got up at 9.  had breakfast
then went to the store.  Home
all afternoon reading.  After
supper went down Mr. W’s store
& had a soda. Bed at 10.

NOTE:  Gertrude mentions more tennis at "the castle".  Perhaps "got the pictures" refers to having some photographs developed?  She went to Mr. Wilkins' store for a soda, and below she mentions going to the store to have an ice cream, so perhaps his business was a soda fountain or drug store (many pharmacies included soda fountain or counters in the 1920s)  

SAT. AUG 28, 1920
Got up at 9.15 had break
fast worked home all morning
after dinner went to the
store got some ice cream
stayed home all afternoon
after supper stayed around
home.  Went to bed at 10

Up at 9.00 had breakfast
then at 11 Bea & I went to Canobie
and met Mr. L, Eunice and Hollis
up there had a great time. Mr. Lowell
& Eunice came back with us
and stayed all night after
supper went to walk.  Bed at 11.00

Got up at 7.30 after breakfast
Eunice, Mr. L, Bea & I went up to
the castle. home at 12.15.  After
dinner we came home got
home 5.15.  Stayed home all
evening.  Bed at 10.15

NOTE:  I think it’s interesting that Gertrude took a second trip to Canobie Lake Park in Salem, New Hampshire, and met up with her siblings and Mr. Lowell.   She returned home with them by train to Beverly on the 30th . It must have been a very exciting trip for her to spend  two weeks away from home!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My  Grandmother’s Diary ~ Part 19, April 12 – 30, 1920", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 17, 2017,  ( http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/04/my-grandmothers-diary-part-19-april-12.html: accessed [access date]). 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Surname Saturday ~ BECKETT of Salem, Massachusetts

The John Becket House, 1655, at the House of Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts
is labeled the "Retire Becket House" by the front door. 


John Becket, my 9th great grandfather, was first recorded in Salem, Massachusetts on 9 April 1655 when he bought “one dwelling house and three acres of land behind it” from Samuel Archard.  The street where this house stood is now known as Becket Court, near the waterfront in Salem. Eventually the family built a shipyard on this property.  In 1924 this house was moved one half mile to the museum compound where the House of Seven Gables stands, and was converted into the gift shop.  (from The Chronicles of Three Old Houses, by Caroline O. Emmerton, 1985, published by the House of Seven Gables Settlement Association)

John Becket was the great great grandfather of the famous ship builder Retire Becket.   In 1816 the millionaire George Crowninshield, Jr. of Salem commissioned Retire “Tyrey” Becket to build the first known private luxury yacht, which was known as Cleopatra’s Barge.   It cost $50,000 to build, and another $50,000 to outfit it as an ocean going mansion (in 1816 dollars!).  No expense was spared on this 100 foot brig.  In 1820 this yacht was traded to King Kamehameha II of Hawaii and renamed Ka Ha'aheo O' Hawai'i.  She sank off Hanalei Bay on the north of Kauai in 1824, and in 1994 the wreck was rediscovered.  191 objects were raised from the wreck and displayed at the Kauai Museum.

There is a reconstruction of the main cabin of Cleopatra's Barge
inside the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts

William Becket, my 8th great grandfather, was also a shipwright, as well as his son, John Becket (1684 – 1763). This lineage lived in Salem from John Becket the immigrant in the 1650s until my grandmother’s time.  If you look down below to generation 8 you will see my great great grandfather, Abijah F. Hitchings, who was the deputy customs collector at the Salem Custom House, also on the waterfront.  He lived in a house that stood on the land that is now the parking lot for visitors to the House of Seven Gables.  This family has always lived in this neighborhood of Salem.  

For more on the BECKET family:

The Story of George Crowninsheild’s Yacht, Cleopatra’s Barge, by George Crowninshield, 1913

A video of the wreck and recovery of Cleopatra’s Barge AKA  Ka Ha'aheo O' Hawai'i  https://vimeo.com/13968115

My BECKET genealogy:

Generation 1:  John Becket, born about 1626, probably in England, died 26 November 1683 in Salem, Massachusetts; married Margaret UNKNOWN.  She died about 1717.  Five children.

Generation 2: William Becket, born 9 April 1665 in Salem, died 10 November 1723 in Salem; married on 8 May 1683 in Marblehead to Hannah Sibley, daughter of Richard Sibley and Hannah UNKNOWN.  She was born 20 September 1661 in Salem and died 1734.  Eight children.

Generation 3:  John Becket, born 10 August 1684 in Salem, died 1763 in Salem; married on 20 September 1711 in Salem to Susannah Mason, daughter of Thomas Mason and Christian Oliver.  She was born 23 August 1687 in Salem, and died after 1769.  Six children.

Generation 4:  John Becket, born 28 February 1715 in Salem, died 29 August 1781 in Salem; married first on 3 May 1738 to Rebecca Beadle, daughter of Lemon Beadle and Rebecca Atwater.  She was born 31 January 1714 in Salem and died 13 January 1758 in Salem.  Thirteen children.   John married second to Sarah Rue on 25 November 1762 in Salem.  No more children with second marriage.

Generation 5: Hannah Becket, born 17 November 1751 in Salem, died 18 August 1837 in Salem; married on 20 June 1770 in Salem to Joseph Cloutman, son of Joseph Cloutman and Mary Webb.  He was born about 1748.  Seven children.
Generation 6: Mary Cloutman m. Abijah Hitchings

Generation 7:  Abijah Hitchings m. Eliza Ann Treadwell
Generation 8:  Abijah Franklin Hitchings m. Hannah Eliza Lewis
Generation 9:  Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 10:  Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “Surname Saturday ~ BECKET of Salem, Massachusetts”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 15, 2017, ( http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/04/surname-saturday-beckett-of-salem.html: accessed [access date]). 

Friday, April 14, 2017

My Uncle Al

This photograph dates from the late 1920s in Hamilton, Massachusetts. It is my mother's eldest brother, Stanley Elmer Allen, Jr., who was usually known by "Junior" or Al.   It is the earliest photo I have of my Uncle Al, and he looks like he is only three or four years old.  He was the oldest of seven siblings born to Stanley Elmer and Gertrude (Hitchings) Allen, my grandparents.  

You can see a photo with three generations of Stanley Elmer Allens HERE (posted last week at this blog).  


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My Uncle Al", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 14, 2017,  (http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/04/my-uncle-al.html: accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

An Historic Moment - Euro Disney Opens on April 12, 1992

 Twenty five years ago today Vincent witnessed an historic moment in Paris, France...

Oooh, la la!
Does Minnie look a little more sexy in Paris than the US Disney parks?
or is it just me?
Vincent was on a business trip in Paris when he learned that the brand new Euro Disney park was opening that same week. Of course, he made time to go check out this new amusement park.  He also saved all the ephemera that he collected that day.  Aero space engineers are good at saving the important stuff!  

We were all extremely jealous of this trip to Euro Disney, but a few years later we were all able to visit as a family.  We have many fond memories of that trip. Some years later this park was renamed Disneyland Paris. 

As genealogists and family historians, we usually concentrate on the historic moments our ancestors lived.  Are you saving memories from the historic moments in YOUR life for your descendants? 

The ticket to Euro Disney

A commemorative ticket given to first day guests

Guest guides to Euro Disney

Here are some opening day photos he snapped during his visit.  It must have been very chilly on April 12, 1992 because the costumed characters are bundled up.  Alice is wearing a sweater, and Snow White has mittens! 

The Euro Disney Sleeping Beauty Castle.  There is a dragon in the dungeon under the castle!

One of my favorite photos was this one, taken when he arrived home.  Yes, they are both wearing Mickey Mouse PJs! We no longer have the PJs, but we still have the Mickey and Pluto stuffed animals.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo,  "An Historic Moment -  Euro Disney Opens on April 12, 1992", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 12, 2017, (http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/04/an-historic-moment-euro-disney-opens-on.html: accessed [access date]).

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Seen on a River Cruise

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly.  I started out by publishing only weather vanes from the Londonderry area, but now I've been finding interesting weather vanes from all over New England.  Sometimes these weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are very unique.  Often, my readers tip me off to some very special and unusual weather vanes.

Today's weather vanes were seen in New Hampshire.

Do you know the location of all the weather vanes in post #306?  Scroll down to see the answer...





Last fall we took a lovely cruise up the Piscataqua River from Portsmouth to Dover, New Hampshire.  It was supposed to be a foliage cruise, but the narration was excellent for the history of the area.  We passed many historical sights because the river was used for settlement, industry, shipping, transportation and recreation.  The autumn foliage was wonderful, but Vincent also took lots of great photos of buildings, factories, cities, towns, boats, birds (including a bald eagle!), wildlife and several weathervanes.

The first weathervane A is in the city of Portsmouth, were we started our cruise.  This is the weathervane above the steeple of St. John's Episcopal Church at 100 Chapel Street.  It is an old banner style weather vane.  This church was founded in 1732 as an Anglican church called "Queen's Chapel" on the same site as the present church.  After the revolution it was renamed "St. John's", and the present building was erected in 1807.

Weathervanes B and C were spotted above private residences along the river.  There were many homes seen along the waterway, from spacious mansions to small summer cottages.  We traveled up the Piscataqua and then turned up the Cocheco River towards the city of Dover.

Weather vane D is on the steeple above "St. John's Apartments" on Chapel Street in Dover.  This is a former church renovated into four floors of elderly housing.  This is a beautiful, intricate ship, symbolic of the shipping industry that was common here along the Cocheco River before the river was dammed for the textile mills.  After the dam was built the Cocheco became too shallow and silty for shipping.

St. John's Episcopal Church Portsmouth, New Hampshire website -  http://www.stjohnsnh.org/

St. John's Apartments -  http://www.doverhousingauthority.org/st.-john-s.html  

Portsmouth Harbor Cruise foliage tour-

Click here to see all the previous Weathervane Wednesday posts!  


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ Seen on a River Cruise", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 12, 2017,  (http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/04/weathervane-wednesday-seen-on-river.html: accessed [access date]).

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday~ Asa Gordon, d. 1838 and his two sons named Abel, buried in Hooksett, New Hampshire

These tombstones were photographed at the Head Cemetery in Hooksett, New Hampshire.

Jan. 24, 1838
AE. 43 yrs.

Son of Asa &
Susan Gordon
Oct. 28, 1829
AE. 5 months

Son of Asa &
Susan Gordon
Oct. 11, 1833
AE. 2 yrs.
& 8 mo. 

Asa Gordon was born 18 March 1785 in Hooksett, New Hampshire, the son of Robert Franklin Gordon and Anna Bunting of Londonderry, New Hampshire; and grandson of William Gordon (1720 - 1753) an immigrant to Londonderry from Scotland. He married Susan Bown on 10 November 1827 in Rumford, Maine.  Listed in the Maine Vital records - is a son named Robert F. Gordon, born in Hooksett (about 1829) and died in Livermore, Maine on 14 July 1907 at age 78 years, 11 months and 16 days.  Another son, John H. Gordon, died in Livermore on March 19, 1915, born about 1838 in Hooksett.

There was a petition dated 7 February 1821 and signed by the men of Hooksett, including Asa Gordon's name, to separate the town from Chester. The petition was successful and the town was incorporated in 1822.

Asa Gordon is listed in the 1830 Federal Census as living in Hooksett with 1 male under age 5, 1 male between ages of 30 to 40, and 1 female ages 20 - 30.

There is a SAR flag on this grave designating it as a veteran of the Revolutionary War, but Asa Gordon would have been just a baby by the end of this war.  Perhaps he served in another war, maybe the War of 1812?


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday~  Asa Gordon, d. 1838 and his two sons named Abel, buried in Hooksett, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 11, 2017, (http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/04/tombstone-tuesday-asa-gordon-d-1838-and.html: accessed [access date]).

Monday, April 10, 2017

My Grandmother’s Diary ~ Part 18, August 1 – 12, 1920

Gertrude Hitchings
This is the 18th installment of my grandmother’s diary from 1920.  Her name was Gertrude Hitchings (1905 – 2001) and she lived on Elliott Street in Beverly, Massachusetts. This tiny 3” diary with its minuscule handwriting is being transcribed in small sections and posted at my blog every Monday.  You can read the first installment HERE

My birthday 15 yrs old.
SUN. AUG. 1, 1920
Got up at 9.  Stayed home
all morning went over Butlers
a little while.  Ma & Pa up to
Russells.  After dinner Brick
and I went to Idlewood.  After
lunch Bob, Brick and Ella up.
Went to bed at 10.30

Got up at 8.00 Went
Over Butlers stayed until
2.  Home all the afternoon
After supper went up to
Fred’s with Brick and got
the pictures. Came home
At 9.30 went to bed at 10.15

Got up at 7.30 Went over
Mrs. Butlers until 10.  Helen,
Ells, baby, Ethel & Rus over.  After
dinner went down playground.
After supper went to ride. Bed
At 10.00

NOTE:  My grandmother, Gertrude Matilda Hitchings, was born 1 August 1905 in Beverly, Massachusetts to her parents, Arthur Treadwell Hitchings and Florence Etta Hoogerzeil.  She was the sixth of their eight children.    Gertrude turned 15 years old the day she wrote this diary entry.  She mentions her friends Brick, Bob, Ella and Fred, and her siblings Helen and Russell, with his wife, Ethel.  Coincidentally, my first grandchild was born on August 1st, too! 

WED. AUG. 4, 1920
Got up at 7.30 Worked
Over Butlers until 10.30
Stayed home the rest of the morn
Ing.  After dinner went to Danvers
Played tennis with Russell
Came home at 6.  Home all
Evening bed at 10.

Got up at 7.30 Went
over Mrs. Butler’s went down
town at 8.45.  After dinner
went up Danvers played tennis
with Brick.  Went to ride
after supper.  Mr. Lowell over
Went to bed at 10.30

Got up at 7.30 Worked
most of the morning over
Butlers.  Home all afternoon
After supper went to ride
up Danvers.  Bed at 10.15
NOTE:  Gertrude mentions working at Mrs. Butler’s again (housework?) and more tennis with her brother Russell and her friend Brick.  Mr. Lowell, the occasional border, is back again.

SAT.  AUG.  7, 1920
Got up at 7:30.  Went over to
Mrs. Butlers until 10.15.  Stayed
home all morning.  Bea came
down at 2.45 after supper we
went down to the beach & down the
merry-go-rounds came home at 8.45
Went to bed at 10.45

Got up at 9.15 stayed at
home all morning.  After dinner
went down to the beach with Bea.
Ethel & Russell came back, went up
to Russell’s had lunch
went to bed at 10.30.

Got up at 7.30 went
down the store.  After dinner
rode over to North Beverly
after supper went to ride
with Bea & Brick up Danvers.
Home at bed at 10.

NOTE:  On the 7th Gertrude mentions going, with her friend Bea, to the beach and the merry-go-round, and the only beach I know of that would have a merry-go-round is at Salem Willows, and that carousel is still there.  Perhaps there was another beach with a merry-go-round in 1920?

TUES. AUG. 10, 1920
Got up at 5.15 went blue-
berrying with Bea, Pa & Brick.
Stayed home all afternoon.
after supper Bea, Brick,
Bob & I played tennis then
went to ride came home at
9.15. Went to bed at 10.00

Got up at 8.15. Went
down Marion’s at 11 came
home went down the store
stayed home all afternoon
after supper went to the
pictures with Eunice at home
at 10.15  bed at 10.30

Not feeling good today
Got up at 10.30 layed
down all morning and
afternoon and evening
went to bed at 8.35. 

NOTE:  More tennis and berrying.  It is interesting to note that Gertrude woke up at all different times during her summer vacation, from 5:45am to as late as 9:30am.  Sundays seemed to be the day she slept in the latest.  She mentions her friends Bea, Bob, and Brick, her cousin Marion, and her sister Eunice.  In the last entry, Gertrude is sick again.  In the next few days Gertrude and her siblings Mildred, Gordon and Eunice all become sick, too.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “My Grandmother’s Diary ~ Part 18, August 1 – 12, 1920”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 10, 2017 ( http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/04/my-grandmothers-diary-part-18-august-1.html: accessed [access date]).