Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Above a former insane asylum

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 my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are very interesting.  Often, my readers tip me off to some very unique and unusual weather vanes.

Today's weather vane is from somewhere in Massachusetts.

Do you know the location of weather vane #210?  Scroll down to see the answer...

Today’s weather vane photos were sent to me by reader and fellow genealogist Sharon Gillis.  She photographed the Medfield State Hospital and sent me the weathervane photo via Facebook.   Her photos of the entire hospital campus were wonderful, and I asked her for permission to use a few for this blog post.

According to Wikipedia this hospital was originally the Medfield Insane Asylum, established in 1892 as the first public facility in Massachusetts for mental patients.  The campus was developed between 1896 and 1914 and had 58 buildings and a capacity to care for 2,200 patients.  It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994, and closed in 2003.  The grounds were used for filming major motion pictures such as Shutter Island and The Box.   Several buildings have been demolished.

The town of Medfield has plans to re-develop the campus.   No plans have been made public yet.

Wikipedia “Medfield State Hospital”

Wicked Local Medfield “Medfield Owns State Hospital:  $3.1 Million land deal finalized” , posted 4 December 2014

Youtube video “A World Apart: A History of Medfield State Hospital”   (30 minutes) 

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Copyright © 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Tombstones at the Derry History Museum

The following tombstones, fragments and rubbings from the 
Forest Hill Cemetery in Derry, New Hampshire were photographed at the
Derry History Museum
29 West Broadway
Derry, New Hampshire

The label reads:
Willow and Urn Fragment circa 1790
This gravestone fragment from an unknown burial
site at Forest Hill Cemetery is in the "Willow and
Urn" style that was common in the late 18th - early
19th century.  Its design is related to the re-discovery
of the classical writing, art and philosophy of the 
ancient Greek and Roman cultures. 

The label reads:
Elizabeth McKeen - circa 1752
The gravestone of Elizabeth McKeen (1725 - 1752)
is carved in the "Death Head" style - a common motif
in puritan New England.  Her broken stone has since
been replaced by a large family memorial stone. 

DIED  ??? YE 17TH

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Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, May 25, 2015

Honoring Your Veteran Family Members and Ancestors ~ For Memorial Day and All Year Long

Here is Vincent's grandfather, José García Rivero (1908 - 1994).  His father was a military man- a carabinero in Spain.  José was a military cadet and served first as a carabinero, then in the Spanish Civil War (1936 - 1939) and was a captain in the Guardia Civil under Franco's government in Spain.  His brother Joaquin was a Guardia Civil, too.

1950s in Madrid, Spain

1971 in Madrid, Spain

After José passed away, Vincent inherited his sword, spurs, uniform and hats.  We have tried several ways to display some of these items.  Finally we decided to have the uniform, medals and the dress hat preserved and professionally framed.  Here are some photos of how we discussed laying out the uniform with the specialist at the framing store.

And here is the final result.  We decided to do a frame for the uniform, and then a deep shadow box for the dress tri-cornered hat, with a photo from the 1950s.  It was expensive since it used all acid free materials, UV Plexiglas, and a lot of labor since the uniform and medals were stitched to the backing (no metal pins or plastic parts).  This framing display will preserve the uniform, and also proudly display it in a basement family room with no windows.

I think José would have enjoyed this!

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Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ KENDALL

Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Library of Congress


The Kendall Family goes back for many generations in Cambridgeshire, England.  John Kendall (1580 – 1660) had ten children, and seven came to Massachusetts.   They all lived near each other, often in contiguous communities.   I descend from Mabel and Thomas.

These Kendall children all came to Masachusetts:
1) Mabel (about 1606 – 1690) married William Reed and lived in Woburn, Massachusetts
2) John (about 1608 – 1690) married Elizabeth and lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts
3) Thomas ( about 1616 – 1681) married Rebecca and lived in Reading, Massachusetts
4) Francis (1620 – 1706) married Mary Tidd and lived in Woburn, Massachusetts
5) Elizabeth (1623 – 1696/7) married Morris Somes and lived in Gloucester, Massachusetts
6) Bethiah (d. 1668.9) married Theophilus Phillips and lived in Watertown, Massachusetts
7) Mary married Thomas Whitney and lived in Watertown, Massachusetts

Mabel and her husband William Read, my 10th great grandparents, came to Massachusetts on the Defence with three children in 1635.  They settled in Woburn, where her brother Francis was living.  Eventually they had a total of nine children born in England, Dorchester, and Woburn.  William eventually returned to England and died at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1656.  Mabel married second to Henry Summers on 21 November 1660 in Woburn.  I descend from her daughter, Abigail, born 1634 in Dorchester, who married Francis Wyman as his second wife.

Mabel’s brother Thomas Kendall is my 9th great grandfather.  He first settled in Charlestown with his brother Francis.  Later Thomas removed to Lynn and settled in the area that was later known as Reading.  This area became South Reading, and later Wakefield.  He was a Deacon of the church and selectman for many years.  He had ten daughters, and the Kendall name was not passed on in his line as a surname.  However, Sewell’s History of Woburn, pages 619 - 620 remembers him like this:

“Francis Kendall remembers likewise in his will the eight children of his brother Thomas (one of the first settlers of Reading, and a deacon of the church there) who were living, when he, said brother died.  It seems that this brother of Frnacis Kendall, of Woburn, Deacon Thomas Kendall of Reading, and Rebecca his wife, had ten daughters, but no son that lived.  But these daughters, in order to preserve their maiden name, Kendall, among their posterity, directed, eath of them, when married, that her first born son should have the given name Kendall, prefixed to his surname; as Kendall Peirson, Kendall Boutwell, Kendall Eaton, Kendall Briant, etc., etc, etc., which gave occasion to the following lines respecing these daughters in a Poem written by Lillie Eaton, Esq., of South Reading, and published with Flint's Historical Address upon the 200th anniversary of the founding of Reading.  In mentioning the vernerable matron, their mother, he observes:
"She had ten daughters; and each one
When married, christened her first son
Kendall; and thus we many infer
Why 'tis these names so oft occur"
                     -- Flint's Address, p. 64"

Thomas Kendall and his wife, Rebecca, were originally buried the old cemetery in Reading and then his grave was removed to the Wakefield Old Burial Ground.  His tombstone is described in Graven Images: New England Stonecarving and its Sybols, 1650 – 1815, by Allen Ludwig, Wesleyan University Press, 1999, page 84.  His gravestone has no dates, and the epitaph is:

Fugit Hora                               [Time Flies]   
Memento Te Esse Mortalem    [Remember that you are mortal]
Upon ye death of Thomas Kendel
Her in ye Earth is layd on of ye 7 of this Church Foundation
So to remaien tel ye powerful voice say ris, in her I a Gloris
A Patarn of piati & Love & for peace
But now alas how short his race
Here we mourn & mourn we moust
To se zion sons like gold now laid
In dust

Rebecca’s epitaph reads:

Here lyeth the mother of ten
Who had 175 grand and great-grandchildren

Some Kimball Sources:

A Mills and Kendall Family History: American Ancestry and Descendants of Herbert Lee Mills and Bessie Delano Kendall, by Helen Schatvet Ullman, Boston: Newbury St. Press, 2002

The Kendall Family in America, by William Montgomery Clemens, reprinted by Higginson Book Company, 1919. Online at 

New England Kendalls website

Notable descendant:  President Calvin Coolidge

The Deacon Thomas Kendall House survives at 1 Prospect Street in Wakefield, Massachusetts.  It is a federal style house, but the central chimney and inner rooms date back to Deacon Kendall, who lived there until 1681.  The house is on the National Register of Historic Places, but is privately owned.   See a photo at this Wikipedia article 

My KENDALL genealogy:

Generation 1:  John Kendall of Cambridgeshire, England

Lineage A:

Generation 2:  Mabel Kendall, born 1606 in England, died 5 June 1690 in Woburn, Massachusetts; married about 1625 in Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, England to William Reed, son of Thomas Reed and Mary Cornwall.  He was baptized on 18 April 1601 in Brocket Hall, and died 9 April 1656 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.  Nine children.

Generation 3: Abigail Reed married Francis Wyman
Generation 4:  Nathaniel Wyman married Mary Winn
Generation 5:  Increase Wyman married Deborah Pierce
Generation 6:  Increase Wyman married Catherine Unknown
Generation 7: Jemima Wyman married Joshua Burnham
Generation 8: Jemima Burnham married Romanus Emerson
Generation 9:  George Emerson married Mary Esther Younger
Generation 10: Mary Katharine Emerson married George E. Batchelder
Generation 11: Carrie Maud Batchelder married Joseph Elmer Allen
Generation 12: Stanley Elmer Allen married Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

Lineage B:

Generation 2: Thomas Kendall, born about 1616 in England, died 22 July 1681 in Reading, Massachusetts; married Rebecca about 1640 in Charlestown, Massachusetts.  Twelve children.

Generation 3: Rebecca Kendall, born 10 February 1644 in Reading, died 30 August 1713 in Reading; married 15 June 1665 in Reading to James Boutwell, son of James Boutwell and Alice Unknown.  He was born about 1642 and died 5 December 1716 in Reading.

Generation 4:  Sarah Boutwell married John Townsend
Generation 5:  Sarah Townsend married Brown Emerson
Generation 6:  John Emerson married Katherine Eaton
Generation 7: Romanus Emerson married Jemima Burnham (see above)

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Copyright © 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Before and After

before restoration

after restoration, hanging in our house in New Hampshire
We call her "Madonna of the Half Moon"!
We have no date for this painting, and the artist is unknown

detail of the Madonna's face

My husband and I brought many pieces of art, books, family photographs, and other small objects from his family home in Puerto Rico to our new house in New Hampshire.  The tropical rain forest weather there was damp and hot.  The house was located in San Juan, with open windows to the weather and dirty city air.  It was only a block from the beach, so the salt air ruined appliances, plumbing and many other objects in the home.  The heat, humidity and time (over 30 years) had damaged some of the art, and spoiled many of the family photographs.

These professional movers packed up and flew the household objects
 from Puerto Rico to New Hampshire.
You can see the Madonna painting behind the movers head in this photograph.
It was so dirty we could barely see the image! 

This was one painting that we decided we should have restored.  One of my friends from the Londonderry Historical Society had been a conservator at Sturbridge Village, and he recommended that I find a fine art conservation lab through the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC).

My father-in-law was orphaned as a little boy, so he was raised and educated by the Jesuit Fathers in Cuba and South America. Later, he used to travel around South America and Europe and collected art.  This painting is one he bought in Peru about 25 years ago and brought back to Puerto Rico.

Through the AIC directory we found Mary Lou White, of the Fine Arts Conservation Lab in Raymond, New Hampshire.  She took on the project of cleaning up this painting.  My mother-in-law and husband remembered what it looked like, but I had never seen the image.  The heat and humidity of San Juan, Puerto Rico had darkened many layers of natural resin varnish on this painting, which Mary Lou estimates to be from the 1800s.  She cleaned off the many layers of varnish and applied a modern, synthetic varnish which will not darken over time.

Doesn't the Madonna look great!  The texture of the fabric on her dress is amazing.   If you have a work of art you need restored, I highly recommend you find a restoration expert through the AIC.  There is probably one near you.

The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works: 

Mary Lou White, Fine Arts Conservation Lab in Raymond, New Hampshire 603-895-9351

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Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Above the fire station

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly.  I started by publishing weather vanes from the Londonderry area, but now I've been finding interesting weather vanes all across New England.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are interesting. Often, my readers tip me off to some very unique and unusual weather vanes, too! If you know an interesting or historical weathervane, please let me know.

Today's weather vane is from New Hampshire.

Do you know the location of weather vane #209?  Scroll down to see the answer!

Today's weather vane was photographed above the Bedford, New Hampshire fire station on Route 101, and it's physical address is actually 55 Constitution Drive (the road behind the fire station, not visible from Route 101).  This one is hard to see since it is a busy intersection and if you are driving you have to pay attention to the traffic.  It is also hard for passengers to see since it is a very small two dimensional fire engine see against dark pine trees.  I rarely see weather vanes of modern fire engines, so this was a fun one for me to find.  I think I've driven by dozens of times and never noticed it!

Bedford, New Hampshire Fire Department

Click here to see the entire Weathervane Wednesday collection! 

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Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ STEEL, buried at Derry, New Hampshire (then Londonderry)

These tombstones were photographed at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Derry, New Hampshire.



These two gravestones are typical of the early Scots Irish in Nutfield.  One is plain with no adornment, and the child's tombstone has a simple geometric design.  The lettering on both is crude and unplanned for the space.  

The Thomas Steel buried and photographed above is the son of Charter Thomas Steel.    He arrived with his wife Martha Morrison with the original group of Ulster Scots from Aghadowey, Northern Ireland in 1718 and went to Maine where they suffered great deprivations.  A group of them came first to Methuen and then to Nutfield (later called Londonderry) in 1719.  This burial ground is now in the town of Derry, because of the schism in the early 19th century. 

I'm not sure about little Naomi Steel, buried next to Thomas.  Who are her parents? 

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Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cochecho Massacre, 27 June 1689, Dover, New Hampshire

The Damm Garrison House in Dover, New Hampshire
is located inside this pavilion at the Woodman Institute

This map is located inside the Damm Garrison at the Woodman Institute in Dover, New Hampshire
It explains the events of Cochecho Massacre, and maps out the locations of the garrisons

The first recorded captives carried to Quebec, Canada to be sold to settlers and native Indians occurred at the Raid on Dover, also known as the Cochecho Massacre, in Dover, New Hampshire on 27 June 1689.  This makes this raid very interesting to genealogists, since some of the women and children who were taken north converted to the Catholic religion.  These same English people later married French spouses and left descendants in Canada.  Some of the captives were redeemed and came home, and some of the redeemed refused to return because they preferred life in Canada!

At the beginning of King William’s War (1688- 1697) there were many raids on New England settlements by the French, and the English raided French villages in Penobscot Bay and Chedabouctou (Guysborough, Nova Scotia).   In June 1689 several hundred Abenaki and Pennacook Indians raided Dover and killed more than 20 and took 29 captives.  This was one quarter of the Dover population. The raid was quite a blow to the English settlements in New Hampshire.

The Dover Raid was revenge on Major Richard Waldron who had  tricked and captured many Abenaki and Wampanoag in 1676 during King Phillip’s War.  These Indians he captured were taken to Boston where some were executed and some were sold into slavery in the Caribbean.  Twelve years later the Abenaki retaliated with the help of the French in Canada.

Waldron's garrison was attacked with a vengeance.  The Major was singled out for a particularly horrendous torture and execution.  His nose and ears were removed and stuffed in his throat.  Each Indian slashed his chest, and he was forced to fall on his own sword.  Waldron had been well known as a cheat at trade with the Indians and he had been a particularly cruel leader to the English settlers (especially to Quakers).  You can read more about Waldron at this blog post:

There were five garrison houses in town at Dover, and others in outlying areas.  Five Indian women came into town and asked to shelter at the garrisons, one at each.  In the middle of the night, each woman opened the gates of the garrison to the attackers.  The rest was history…

According to the book New England Captives Carried to Canada, pages 142 -  these are some of  the identified captives, all traced to French records in Quebec:

John Church (sometimes misspelled Chase)
John Evans
Sarah Gerrish,  7 year old granddaughter of Major Waldron,
Mrs. Elizabeth Hanson, wife of Tobias
----- Heard “a young woman of Cochecho”
Esther Lee, daughter of Richard Waldron, along with her child
Grizel Otis, wife of Richard, daughter of James Warren
Margaret Otis, rebaptized Christine in Quebec
Rose Otis
John Otis
Stephen (rebaptized Joseph Marie)
Nathaniel (rebaptized Paul), son of Stephen Otis and Mary Pitman
Joseph Buss
William Buss

Here is a list of some members of my family tree who were victims of the Cochecho Massacre:

I'm forced to admit that I'm closely related to Major Richard Waldron (1615 – 1689).  He was married to my 9th great aunt, Ann Scammon.  I descend from Ann’s sister, Elizabeth (about 1625 – abut 1680) who married Thomas Atkins.   Major Waldron, as I described above, was killed, along with most of his family, and his garrison was burned to the ground, along with his grist mills and trading post.

I'm proud to tell you about Elizabeth Hull Heard (about 1628 – 1706),  my 8th great grandmother.  According to stories in Cotton Mather’s Magnalia Christi Americana and Belknap’s History of New Hampshire and other books, she was a witness to Waldron’s deceit in 1676, and sheltered a young native Abenaki boy from death.   On the night of the Cochecho Massacre she was hiding In the woods when an Indian pointed his weapon at her, but suddenly spared her life and ran away.  The Heard garrison house was one of the few homes that were successfully defended that night by William Wentworth because Elizabeth's husband had died a few months before the attack.  It is suggested that the Indian who spared her life was the young Abenaki boy in 1675.   Elizabeth's children survived, too, including her daughter Mary (1650 - 1706), my 7th great grandmother, and her husband John Ham and children. 

[You can see that I am related to both the villain and the heroine of this massacre]

Ensign John Tuthill, born 1634, is my 9th great grand uncle.  I descend from his brother Simon Tuthill (1637 – 1691) who married Sarah Cogswell.   He was killed in Cochecho, but his son Thomas escaped.  His wife was Judith Otis and that family was killed or taken captive (see the list above), and the Otis garrison was burned to the ground.  John Tuthill left his wife a widow with six children, the oldest only fourteen years old.

Richard Otis (1626 – 1689), John Tuthill’s father-in-law, was killed in the massacre, along with his son Stephen and granddaughter Hannah.  Stephen’s wife, daughters and some grandchildren were captured.  Some were freed by the captors at what is now Conway, New Hampshire, the rest were taken to Canada. 

For more information:

New England Captives Carried to Canada Between 1677 and 1760 During the French and Indian Wars, by Emma Lewis Coleman, published in 1925, reprinted by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012.

From the Dover, New Hampshire Public Library website

An online article from Portsmouth, New Hampshire historian J. Dennis Robinson

Magnalia Christi Americana, or "The Ecclesiastical History of New-England, from its First Planting in the year 1620 Unto the Year of Our Lord, 1698", Cotton Mather, in seven books (reprint), New Haven, CT,1820

The Hull Family in America, Compiled by Col. Weggant, Hull Family Association 

"A Genealogical Memoir of the Family of Richard Otis" -- 1851 -- by Horatio N. Otis. NEHGR for July 1848 & April 1850 has the Genealogy of the Otis Family Descending from John Otis, who immigrated to New England & settled in Hingham, Mass. about 1635.

Click here for blog post about the DAMM family garrison, which survived the Cochecho massacre in 1689.  The DAMM garrison was built in 1675, and is the oldest surviving garrison house still standing in New Hampshire. 

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Copyright © 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo