Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Brought to you by the Letter "S"

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly, usually of weather vanes in the Nutfield, New Hampshire area, but sometimes they can be from anywhere. Occasionally they are elsewhere in New England, or very historical weather vanes from anywhere else. Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, but all are interesting. Often, my readers tip me off to some very unique and unusual weathervanes, too!  Today's weather vane was seen in Hudson, New Hampshire.

Do you know the location of weather vane #107? Scroll down to the bottom to see the answer!

I've driven by this house in Hudson, New Hampshire many times, and wondered about the letter "S" on the weather vane.  Of course, the wind doesn't always cooperate when I am photographing these weather vanes, so here the letter "S" appears backwards.  I decided to write to the Hudson Historical Society.  Here is their kind reply:

"The house you refer to is located on the corner of Derry Road and Highland Ave across from Library Park in Hudson. Many people, even those who live in Hudson, refer to this park as the Common. Library Park was given to the town by Mary Creutzborg, mother of Mrs. Alfred Hills.

Back to the house you asked about. It was built in 1875 by George Sanders; hence the origin of the “S” you spoke of. Mr. Sanders was an industrialist with many interests. Most specifically he started Hudson Water Company. This home was built for his residence. He also built the large apartment building across the way on Library Street and some single family houses along Ferry Street near the Park. These were used for company housing.

Mr. Sander’s house is an example of a fine victorian house. It was later owned by the Kendrick family and now by a Smith family. Thus, the “S” is back in usage!! Mr. ‘Lenny’ Smith did worked hard to retain the character and charm of the house. It is now listed on the National Historic Register.

Thanks for your interest in Hudson!

Ruth Parker, Member
Genealogy and Research Committee
Hudson Historical Society"

Hudson, New Hampshire Historical Society

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

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Weston Babies buried in Reading, Massachusetts

This tombstone was photographed at the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Reading, Massachusetts

In memory of 2 children
of Mr. John and Mrs. Sarah
Peace died                 Hope died 8
1 Jan. 1799                    Jan. 1799
Aged 10 days            Aged 17 days

I find the little portraits of these babies to be very touching.  They look like they are in little coffins.  According to the Reading vital records these twin babies were born on 22 December 1798.

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Shelburne Museum and Shelburne Farms

Shelburne Farms, The Farm Barn
Disclosure: Unfortunately I am not related to a single person in this blog post.  … sigh… This is unfortunate because they are all millionaires!

Shelburne Farms, the Inn was the former family mansion

We recently visited Vermont, and spent the day at the Shelburne Museum and the evening at the Shelburne Farms Inn where we had a lovely dinner of local foods from the farm and nearby farmers in the area. The Shelburne Farms was the estate of Dr. William Seward Webb and his wife, Lila Vanderbilt.  It was on 3,800 acres along the shores of Lake Champlain just south of Burlington, Vermont.  They constructed a model farm and estate between 1880 and 1905, with some help from Frederick Olmsted.  In 1969, one of the grandchildren, Derick Webb, and his own children decided to create a non-profit to preserve the farm for the future. It was in danger of being sold off in parcels for redevelopment.  Today you can visit the farm, stay or dine at the Inn (the former mansion), or participate in many activities on the grounds. It is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit educational organization and National Historic Landmark.

At the Inn, family photos from the Webbs and Vanderbilts
decorate the library
I love that the Webb family had the 1900 census on their bookshelf!

The daughter-in-law of Dr. Webb and Lila was Electra Havemeyer Webb.  She was an art collector, and lived on Park Avenue in Manhattan with a collection of Impressionist paintings in the winter, and in a Vermont farmhouse filled with antique collections in the summer.  In 1947 she created the Shelburne Museum, south of the Farm.  She began to “collect” buildings to move there to house her collections.  Today you can visit the museum and view her fine art and folk art. 

The museum is one of my favorites in New England, full of folk art, and “collections of collections” ranging from stuffed trophy animals, farm tools, winter sleighs, weather vanes (of course!), toys, porcelains and household items from all  over New England.  The collections are housed in restored homes and other buildings moved on site.  These include unusual barns, general stores, a school house, a jail house, a light house, a train station and a variety of other structures.  The Webb private train car, that used to bring the family from Manhattan to Vermont in luxury, is installed nearby the Ticonderoga, a ferry that plied Lake Champlain 100 years ago. 

This is one of two horse shoe shaped barns at the Shelburne Museum,
which houses a large collection of circus memorabilia 
Lila’s brother, George Washington Vanderbilt (1862 – 1914) created the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina with the assistance of Frederick Law Olmsted.  The grounds are extensive, and reach from downtown Asheville to the top of Mount Mitchell.  It was originally 125,000 acres, and in 1914 85,000 were sold to the federal government to form Pisgah National Forest.  The estate today sits on 8,000 acres and is owned by the Biltmore Company.  It is open to the public as a historic house, Biltmore Farms, and Biltmore Winery.  The grounds include 75 acres of formal gardens and a 213 room hotel.


The Webb Family Genealogy:

William Seward Webb, son of James Watson Webb and Laura Virginia Cram, grandson of Samuel Blachley Webb, aide to Generals Putnam and Washington, born 31 January 1851, died 29 October 1926; married in 1883 to Eliza Osgood Vanderbilt, known as Lila, daughter of William Henry Vanderbilt  (1821 – 1885) and Maria Louisa Kissam, and also granddaughter of “The Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794 – 1877).


1. Frederica Webb, b. 1992 married Ralph Pulitzer, married second Cyril Hamlen James

2. James Watson Webb (1884 – 1960) married Electra Havemeyer (1893- 1966).  Five children: Electra, Samuel, Lila, James Watson Webb, Jr, and Harry.  Electra Havemeyer Webb founded the Shelburne Museum to house her “collection of collections”

3. William Seward Webb married Gertrude Gaynor

4. Vanderbilt Webb married Aileen Osborn

For the truly curious:

Electra Havemeyer Webb’s papers are stored at the Frick Collection, chiefly materials about the Shelburne Museum (correspondence, reports, speeches, articles, clippings, financial papers and scrapbooks).

Shelburne Farms

Shelburne Farms: The Spirit of the Agricultural Estate, by Shelburne Farms, 2011

Shelburne Museum

Biltmore Estate, North Carolina

For a peek at the Vanderbilt family tree, check this Wikipedia article:


Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Ancestors were Prisoners of War ~ Just like on “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Samuel Mears
GAR member
Beverly, Massachusetts

I was fascinated with the opening episode of the 2013 season of “Who Do You Think You Are?” on TLC last week.  When Kelly Clarkson found out her ancestor was a prisoner of war, I was jumping up and down yelling out “Me, too!”    I wonder how many Americans did the same thing?  Do you have prisoners of war in your family tree?

Over the years I've found the following eight prisoners of war in my family tree:

 1.       William Munroe (1625 – 1718) My 7th Great Grandfather was a Scotsman, captured at the Battle of Worcester during the English Civil War.  He was sent on a prison ship in 1650 to be auctioned off as a servant in Boston, Massachusetts.  His descendants lived in Lexington, Massachusetts.

   2.    Johann Daniel Bollman (abt 1751 - 1833) My 4th Great Grandfather was a Hessian soldier.  At the Battle of Saratoga he was captured, but since he was an officer and a surgeon he was exchanged quickly.  He removed to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, which was a German settlement, married a German widow, and left many descendants in Canada and the United States.

   3.    Levi Younger (1786 - 1858) My 4th Great Grandfather was a mariner from Gloucester, Massachusetts.  He was "impressed" during the War of 1812, and offered himself up as a prisoner instead of doing service for the British.  His father, (4) Levi Younger, my 5th Great Grandfather, was also captured as a seaman during the Revolutionary War and sent to New York on a prison ship. He was kept at Forten Prison in Portsmouth, England. He was released during a prisoner exchange.  This was a very lucky father and son!
5. William Stacy (1734 – 1804) My 2nd cousin, 7 generations removed, was a shoemaker from Gloucester, Massachusetts.  He served in the militia during the American Revolution and was taken prisoner by Indians in Cherry Valley, New York in 1777.  He was a prisoner for four years, survived the war and went to Marietta, Ohio in 1788 with most of his children.

6.   Moises Rojo (1902 -1936) is my husband's Grandfather.  He was captured as a civilian (not a combatant) during the Spanish Civil War for unknown reasons.  All the men who had been rounded up were imprisoned in a wine cellar beneath the streets of the city of Aranda de Duero, in Burgos, Spain.  One day in 1936 they were taken to a forest, executed, and buried in a mass grave.  

7. John Ross Roberts (1925 – 2003) My father’s first cousin was a nose gunner of a B-17 Liberator in WWII.  He was captured on 28 February 1945 and served the duration of the war a prisoner of war in Germany.

8. Rufus Elvin Mears (1841 – 1864) My 3rd Great Grand Uncle, brother to Samuel Mears (1823 – 1904), my 3rd Great Grandfather.  Both brothers served the Union in the Civil War. Rufus was 21 years old when he enlisted in the 39th Regiment, Company A, under Colonel P. S. Davis and Captain George S. Nelson.  He was in the Battles of Mine Run, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Tolopotomy, Bethesda Church and Petersburg.  He was taken prisoner at Wheldon Railroad on 18 August 1864, and died in the rebel prison at Salisbury on 26 October 1864.

It was the story of Rufus Elvin that I remembered most when I saw the TV show WDYTYA.  The story of the suffering at Andersonville Prison is notorious, but I remembered researching the Salisbury Prison years before this television show aired.  I was horrified then at the conditions, and those memories all came back to me when I saw the TV show.  

The Salisbury Confederate Prison was built in 1861 after the first battle of Bull Run at Manassas.   Prisoners from that battle joined Southern political prisoners, conscientious objectors and Confederate deserters. The prison was an old cotton mill with a large yard.  At first conditions at Salisbury prison were tolerable, but when it became overcrowded and there were no supplies to feed the prisoners, the conditions deteriorated.

In the stockade there was a creek that supplied water to the prison.  The lower end was a latrine.  In those days they didn’t know that bacteria could flow upstream to the area where the prisoners took drinking water.  You can imagine what happened next…

Many of the prisoners who died were buried outside the walls of Salisbury Prison, which became the Salisbury National Cemetery.   11,700 Union soldiers are buried in 18 trenches, each 240 feet long.   These mass graves are now marked by a head and foot stone for each trench.

At the end of the war, the prisoners from Salisbury had all been transferred to other places.  The Union forces burned the prison, and the commander, Major John Henry Gee, was tried for war crimes and found innocent.  The commander at Andersonville, Major Henry Wirz, was found guilty and hanged.

It is sad that young Rufus Mears died at Salisbury Prison, and exciting for Kelly Clarkson that her ancestor escaped Andersonville and lived a long life and left descendants.  My 3rd Great Grandfather, Samuel Mears, the brother of Rufus, was a proud member of the GAR for the rest of his life.  His portrait still hangs in the GAR Hall in Beverly, Massachusetts. (see above)

For more information:

Salisbury Confederate Prison Association

Wikipedia article on Salisbury Prison

Salisbury National Cemetery, Salisbury, NC

Wikipedia article on Salisbury Cemetery

The GAR Hall, Beverly, Massachusetts 

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Happy Blogoversary to Me!

Today is the 4th Anniversary of Nutfield Genealogy!

I started writing this blog for my family.  I never expected to be still writing four years later, and I never expected it would grow to something anyone else outside the family would like to read. But today I have 240 followers, have received over 3,000 comments on almost half a million page views, and I've written 1400 posts.

Thank you so much to all my followers and readers! This blog has evolved into something I never dreamed of happening over these few years.  I wonder what it will look like down the road?  Stay tuned and we'll find out together!

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, July 26, 2013

Genealogy and Local History Event Calendar for August 2013

Local Genealogy Club Meetings

Barrington, NH Genealogy Club, meets the first Wednesday of the month at 6pm at the Barrington Public Library, 105 Ramsdell Lane, Barrington, NH  or email Wendy at

Chelmsford Genealogy Club, at the Chelmsford, MA Public Library, first Tuesday night of the month at 7PM in the McCarthy Meeting Room, contact Judy Sylvia 978-256-5521

Genealogy Roundtable, at the Derry Public Library, 64 East Broadway, Derry, NH  every first Tuesday of the Month, at 1 – 2:30 PM.  Contact: 603-432-6140 for more information.

Greater Lowell Genealogy Club, meets at the Pollard Memorial Library, Lowell, MA 10AM to 1PM once a month. 

Hudson Genealogy Club, at the Rogers Memorial Library, 194 Derry Road, Hudson, NH  every 2nd Friday of the Month, at 1:30 PM contact 603-886-6030 for more information.  (on summer hiatus until September)

Meredith NH, Genealogy Club

Newton, NH Genealogy Club- Gale Library, Newton, NH, 603-382-4691, 3PM on the third Wednesday of the month. 

North Hampton, NH Genealogy Club, at the North Hampton Public Library, 237A Atlantic Avenue, North Hampton NH 603-964-6326
Rye Genealogy Club, at the Rye Public Library, first Tuesday of the month at 2PM.

RISE Genealogy Group at the Nashua Public Library, Hunt Room, on the first Friday of the month at 1pm  (Rivier College Institute for Senior Education, see )

Southborough, MA Genealogy Club, at the Southborough Library, 25 Main Street, Southborough, MA  508-485-5031 or   Third Thursday of the Month.  See the website for a schedule

Shrewsbury, Massachusetts Genealogy Club, meets third Monday of the month at the Shrewsbury Public Library, contact George C. Brown at 508-841-8531 or

July 27, Saturday, 9am to 4:30pm Star Island Excursion with Historic New England, discover the fascinating history of the Isles of Shoals.  Take a boat through Portsmouth Harbor and eight miles out to Star Island for a historic walking tour.  Lunch at the Oceanic Hotel.  Lunch and boat included. $60 members/ $70 non members.  Registration required 603-4326-3225.  Another tour will run on August 7, 2013.

July 31, Wednesday, 6:30pm, Digging into Derry: Forest Hill Cemetery, at the Derry Public Library, Derry, NH, contact Sherry Bailey at 432-6140 or for more information.  Presented by TJ Culane of the Friends of the Forest Hill Cemetery. 

August 2, 10am to 4pm, Free Fun Friday at the Wenham Museum, 132 Main Street, Wenham, Massachusetts, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum will be FREE all day.

August 3, 9am, Saturday, Fort George, Penobscot, 1778 - 1783 - A Safe Haven for Loyalist Close and Far, by the Old Broad Bay Family History Association of Waldeboro, Maine, at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, 277, Manktown Road.  Talk by Anette Ruppel Rodrigues, a German instructor from the University of Maine, Orono.  Snacks and lunch provided.  After lunch there will be a historical tour of Waldoboro Village conducted by historian Mark Biscoe.  A $5 donation requested. All are welcome.  For more information email  

August 4 – 9, 2013, The 33rd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Boston Park Plaza Hotel.  See the website for more information.

August 5, Monday, 6:30pm Digging into Derry: The Portrait of Elizabeth McGregor, contact Sherry Bailey at 432-6140 or for more information, Karen Blandford-Anderson of the Derry Museum of History will discuss the portrait of Elizabeth McGregor, daughter of Molly and General Reid, and the great-great-great granddaughter of Staff Faithful. Hear about the family and hw the portrait was returned to Derry.

August 6, 2pm, Tuesday, Census, Passenger Lists, and Naturalization Records, at the National Archives, 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, Mass.  Reservations required call 866-406-2379 or email to register and for more details.  FREE to the public. Website

August 7, 6pm, Wednesday,  If I am Not For Myself, Who Will Be for Me? George Washington’s Runaway Slave, at the Barrington Public Library, 105 Ramsdell Lane, Barrington, NH, Contact Amy Inglis for more information.  The story of Ona Judge Staines, a runaway slave, will be portrayed by Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti.  Ona ran away from Philadelphia to freedom in New Hampshire. FREE to the public.

August 7, 9am to 4:30pm, Wednesday, Star Island Excursion with Historic New England, discover the fascinating history of the Isles of Shoals.  Take a boat through Portsmouth Harbor and eight miles out to Star Island for a historic walking tour.  Lunch at the Oceanic Hotel.  Lunch and boat included. $60 members/ $70 non members.  Registration required 603-4326-3225.

August 7, 7pm, Wednesday Mystic, Connecticut and the War of 1812 at the Mystic and Noank Library, Connecticut presented by author and professor Glenn Gordinier, who just wrote the book Rocket's Red Glare: the War of 1812 and Connecticut, which has won the American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit.  Free and open to the public.

August 13, 7pm,  Wednesday, Teddy Roosevelt’s Nobel Prize: New Hampshire and the Portsmouth Peace Treaty, at the Salem Historical Museum, 310 Main St, Salem, NH, contact Ann LeClair 603-893-6783 for more information.  FREE to the public. Charles Doleac’s program focuses on Roosevelt’s diplomacy and the Russian Japanese peace treaty in Portsmouth when NH hosted 30 days of negotiations that resulted in the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and earned Roosevelt the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize.  The program also focuses on the ordinary people from NH who positively affected the negotiations.

August 13, 7pm, Wednesday, Treasures from the Isles of Shoals: How New Archaeology is Changing Old History, at the Hampstead, NH Public Library, 9 Mary E. Clark Drive, Hampstead.  Contact 603-329-6411 for more information. J. Dennis Robinson, historian, presents the new digs by Nathan Hamilton which have unearthed mover 300,000 artifacts on this largely uninhabited group of islands. FREE to the public.

August 15, 7pm, Thursday, Treasures from the Isles of Shoals: How New Archaeology is Changing Old History, at the Bedford Public Library, 3 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford, NH (see above)

August 16, 10am to 6pm, Free Fun Friday at the USS Constitution Museum, Bldg. 5 Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum will be FREE all day.

August 17, 10:30 - 11:30am, Saturday, The Mobile Genealogist:  Part II, Imaging on the Go at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 - 101 Newbury Street, Boston.  Staff member Alice Kane introduces these helpful technology tools including digital cameras and the Flip-Pal scanner. To reserve your space call 617-226-1226 or email 

August 21, 1pm, Wednesday, The Other Side of the Midnight Ride: A visit with Rachel Revere, at the Wentworth Home, 795 Central Avenue, Dover, NH, contact Samantha Simpson 603-516-8826 for more information.  FREE to the public.  Joan Gatturna portrays Rachel Revere, wife of Paul Revere.  See the events of the Revolutionary War through the eyes of the woman who engineered the escape of ther family from occupied Boston and smuggled money to the Songs of Liberty.

August 23, 9am to 5pm,  Free Fun Friday at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, Massachusetts, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum will be FREE all day.

August 23, 10 am to 4pm, Free Fun Friday at the Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Road, Harvard, Massachusetts sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum will be FREE all day.

August 24 and 25, Saturday and Sunday, Revolutionary War Weekend at the Fort at No. 4, Charlestown, New Hampshire,  The Fortified village will be open for tours, sutlers will sell trade goods, and there will be a muster and battle re-enactment.  See the website for the schedule of events.

August 30, 9am – 5pm, Free Fun Friday at Plimoth Plantation, 137 Warren Avenue, Plymouth, Massachusetts, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum, grist mill and Mayflower II (open until 7pm) will be FREE all day.

September 4, 10am, New Visitor Welcome Tour, at the New England Historic Genealogical Society Library,  99 – 101 Newbury St. Boston, MA.  A FREE orientation and tour of the resources available at NEHGS with over 15  million artifacts, books, manuscripts, microfilms, journals, photographs, records and expert staff.  For more info 617-536-5740

September 9, 7pm, Monday, Digging into Native History in New Hampshire, at the Stratham Fire House (Morgera Mtg. Room), 2 Winnicut Road, Stratham, NH, contact the Wiggins Library for more info 603-772-4346.  Abenaki history presented by Robert Goodby who reveals archaeological evidence that shows their deep presence here in New Hampshire.

September 10, 7pm, Tuesday, Harnessing History: On the Trail of New Hampshire’s State Dog, the Chinook, at the Hampstead Public Library, 9 Mary E. Clark Drive, Hampstead, NH.  Contact 603-329-6411 for more information.  FREE to the public.  Bob Cottrell covers the history of Arthur Walden and his Chinooks.  Inquire whether the speaker’s dog will accompany him. 

September 11, 7pm, Wednesday, The Founding Fathers: What were they Thinking?  At the Wadleigh Memorial Library, 49 Nashua St., Milford, NH, contact 603-673-2408 for more information.  FREE to the public. Richard Hesse presents the cast of characters called “founders”, the problems they faced, and the solutions they fashioned.

September 12, 7pm, Thursday, New Hampshire Towns and the Civil War, at the Brentwood Historical Society Museum, 140 Crawley Fall Road, Brentwood, NH, contact 603-679-8635 for more information.  FREE to the public. Jere Daniell discusses the home front during the war, responses to the Civil War, with specific examples from the history of Brentwood.

September 12, 7pm, Thursday, The Capital Crime of Witchcraft:  What the Primary Sources Tell Us, at the Rochester Historical Society, 58 Hanson Street, Rochester, NH, contact 603-330-3099.  Margo Burns presents an array of witch craft prosecutions in 17th century New England, using facsmiles of primary source manuscripts, and cases from Salem as well as New Hampshire, Boston and Connecticut.

September 20 -21, First New York State Family History Conference, Holiday Inn and Conference Center, Liverpool, New York (just outside of Syracuse)  For complete details see the website at  Jointly produced by the Central New York Genealogical Society and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society for the first ever statewide genealogical conference in New York State.

September 21, Saturday, Wyman Family Association Meeting and Reunion, at the Francis Wyman House, built in 1666, at 56 Francis Wyman Road,  Burlington, Mass., see for more information

September 28, Saturday, American Canadian Genealogical Society’s 40th Anniversary Celebration.  Speakers will be Dick Eastman, Lucie LeBlanc Consentino, Joe Manning. Stay tuned for details.

September 28, Saturday, New Hampshire Historical Society Museum will offer free admission as part of the 9th annual Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day.  Visitors must present a Museum Day ticket to gain free admission for two.  9:30 am to 5pm at 6 Eagle Square, Concord, New Hampshire.  For more information visit  Regular admission is $5.50 adults, $4.50 seniors, $3 children 6 -18, $17 family maximum.  Call 603-228-6688 for more information.

October 19, 2013, 8:45 am – 1pm, Family History Day “Update Your Family History Toolbox”, LDS church, 90 Clinton St, Concord, New Hampshire.  This 6th annual conference is FREE to the public, recommended for ages 12 and over.  For more information contact Martha Methot  603-668-2958. Registration at EventBrite online   You will have a choice of four class sessions, 50 minutes each, from a large conference schedule. 


Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Who are you calling a “Huckster”?

Whilst researching my Great Great Grandfather Robert Wilson Wilkinson (1830 – 1874), I looked for his occupations in the US Census records.   He died in 1874, and so I looked first in the 1870 census where I found him listed as a “huckster”!  This seemed to me to be a pejorative statement, so I checked in the American Heritage Dictionary where I found the definition to be “One who uses aggressive, showy, and sometimes devious methods to promote or sell a product.”  Fortunately I stopped to also look at the archaic definition, which stated “One who sells wares or provisions in the street; a peddler or hawker”. 

Working backwards in time, the 1865 Massachusetts State census his occupation says cryptically “periodical depot”.  In 1860 it says “clerk”.  The 1855 state census has him listed as a “shoemaker”.  In 1850 he was 20 years old and listed as a shoemaker. He lived his entire life in Peabody, Massachusetts (even though the earlier censuses list him in Danvers, before the town split into two bodies in 1855 and South Danvers became Peabody in 1868).  Peabody is known as the “Leather City”, and other family members were also shoemakers, tanners, hide cutters, etc.  But his later occupations puzzled me.

I looked next at city directories. In the 1864 Salem City Directory (Danvers, thus Peabody, too, split off from Salem) there is a listing on page 97 for “Wilkinson, Robert W., Main, Periodicals”.   In the 1866 Salem City Directory, there is a listing on page 229 for “Wilkinson Robert W. 13 Main Fruits and Vegetables”, on the same page under “confectionaries” and on page 230 under “Periodicals” at the same address.  Apparently he had a store or stand at Main Street where he sold these small articles? But in the 1873 Danvers City Directory he is listed on page 199 as “watchman”, just a year before he died.

Just for fun, I checked out 13 Main Street, Peabody on Google maps, and switched to street view. I couldn't find number 13, but number 14 is now a dollar store. Some things never change!

I checked the advertisements in the back of the Salem Directories and other nearby cities.  Periodical stands and “depots” sold newspapers, magazines, stationary, and other paper items (including cardboard collars!).  I’m guessing that for a while he sold newspapers and then switched to fruits and vegetables.  All are small items sold from carts or stands.  Perhaps this was too strenuous and he became a watchman?

As a younger man, my ancestor Robert Wilson Wilkinson was a shoemaker, like so many other young men in Peabody.  Why was he reduced to being a peddler? He died of “heart disease” at the age of 46. Had he been ill for a long time and not able to do manual labor?

These answers won’t be found in census records or directories…


Etching is "Pushcart Peddler"  by Samuel Johnson Woolf, 1880 - 1948, American

Photo "Toronto News Stand, Spadina Avenue", September 1938,  Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 58, Item 1500, from the City of Toronto Archives, via Wikimedia Commons


The URL for this post is
If you don't see this URL in your browser, you are reading stolen content from a splogger who has stolen my copyrighted work. 

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Gift from a First Lady to a President

Every Wednesday for more almost two years Vincent and I have been posting photographs of weather vanes located in or near the Nutfield area (the former name for the land where Londonderry, Derry and Windham, New Hampshire are now located). Most of them are historically interesting or just whimsical and fun weather vanes. If you know an interesting New England weather vane that could be photographed for this series, please send me an email or leave a comment below.

Today's weather vane was found somewhere in Massachusetts.

Do you know the location of weather vane #106? Scroll down to see the answer....

Today's weather vane was photographed at the JFK Library and Museum on Columbia Point, in Boston, Massachusetts.  This is a wonderful museum on the life and presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  There are lots of exhibits on the events surrounding his life and term in office, as well as lots of family memorabilia. The card under this weather vane reads: "Jacqueline Kennedy gave the president this sailboat weathervane on his forty-sixth birthday for their home in Hyannis Port." 

JFK was born on 29 May 1917, so she must have given it to him in 1963 for his birthday.  This is poignant since he was killed on 22 November 1963.  It was his last birthday gift from Jackie.  This room was full of photos and memorabilia about JFK's love of sailing and his time served in the Navy during WWII.  You can visit his sailboat, Ventura, just outside the museum.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

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


Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Munroes in Reading, Massachusetts

These tombstones were photographed at the Laurel Hill Cemetery, in Reading, Massachusetts

to the memory of
wife of
who died april the 17th
1837.  Aged 49 yrs
[epitaph illegible]

In memory of
son of Mr. Andrew &
Mrs. Mary Munro,
who died
June 9, 1821
AET 1 yr, 1 mos. & 26 ds.
I take these little lambs said he,
And lay them on my breast
Protection they shall find in me
In me be ever blest.
[last lines illegible]

Andrew Munroe, son of Andrew Munroe and Ruth Simonds, born 1 April 1789 in New Grafton, New Hampshire, died 27 October 1868 in Andover, Massachusetts; married first on 25 October 1809 to Mary Beers, daughter of William Beers and Mary Nichols.  She was born 20 September 1788 in Reading, Massachusetts, died 17 April 1837.  He married second to Betsey Osborn Hayward, daughter of Nehemiah Hayward and Sally Lemon, on 2 November 1837 in Reading, Massachusetts.

Children with Mary Beers:
1.  Jesse Beers Munroe, b. February 1814, died 9 November 1844, m. Ann Fosgate Gowing
2.  Edmund Munroe, born about 1820, died 21 February 1847 
3. Isaac Munroe, born about 1821, died 10 June 1821
4. Isaac Munroe, born about 1822, m. Mary W. Noble
5. Andrew Munroe
6. Mary Munroe
7. Martha J. Munroe, born about 1824, died 16 Oct 1866, m. Thomas T. Greenwood
8. Louisa Munroe

Child with Betsey O. Hayward
9.  Josephine S. Munroe, born about 1841, died 18 January 1847

You can read more about Martha J. Munroe and Thomas T. Greenwood in last week's Tombstone Tuesday blog post.  Andrew Munroe is my 3rd great grand uncle, brother to Luther Simonds Munroe, my 3rd great grandfather.  Please click at this link:

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, July 22, 2013

Are you a descendant of Percy Emmons Woodward?

Over the weekend I received an interesting email from a wedding planner named Ann Bergin.  She has a hobby of collecting antique wedding invitations.  Ann is now downsizing, and looking for descendants for some of these wedding invitations.  She must have used Google or another search engine, because she ended up at my blog when looking for a descendant of Percy Emmons WOODWARD, who was married in 1904 to Grace Kinney.

I have him at my blog because he was the author of a WOODWARD genealogy in 1940.  My Woodwards daughtered out in the 1700s, so he is not a very close relative to me.  If you are a descendant, Ann would like to give you the wedding invitation.

Here is some information:

Percy Emmons Woodward was the author of Some Descendants of Nathaniel Woodward, Mathematician, Concord, New Hampshire: Rumford Press, 1940.   

He is a descendant of Nathaniel Woodward who was born in England about 1590 and died 11 May 1685 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Percy Emmons Woodward was married first to Grace Kinney in 1904.  This is the wedding invitation Ann Bergin would like to return to a family member.  They had no descendants and Graced died within a decade.  All the descendants would come from Percy’s second marriage to Marguerite Mosman.
Here is an obituary for Percy’s daughter-in-law, Joanne.  She was the wife of his son, Burton.

My dearly beloved mother, Joanne F. Woodward, wife of the late Dr. Burton M. Woodward, died peacefully at Spring Lake Village in Santa Rosa, CA on September 24, 2008. She was born on January 2, 1921 in Washington, OK and grew up in Jacksonville, FL. She married Burton M. Woodward of Newtonville, MA in 1940. Together they returned to Florida in 1947, living in Micanopy for 12 years before moving to Gainesville. They maintained homes in Highlands, NC and Gainesville, FL until they moved to Spring Lake Village, in Santa Rosa, California to be near their younger daughter. Mrs. Woodward was very active in community activities while in Florida, belonging to the Junior League of Gainesville, Gainesville Women's Club, Gainesville Garden Club, League of Women Voters, Gainesville Golf and Country Club, Gainesville Public Library and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. In Micanopy, she was instrumental in having a building erected for public use to encourage reading. She loved flowers and created beauty wherever she lived. A loving mother, she had two daughters, Gaye and Joanne (Sissy). Her elder daughter, the late Gaye Woodward Watson, had two children who are now grown with children of their own. Ashley Watson Rogale, her granddaughter, lives in Tampa, FL with her husband, Joe, and two daughters, Ansley and Andrea. Her grandson, Todd Woodward Watson, lives in Orlando, FL with his wife, Lisa, and their two children, Kate and Matthew. Her surviving daughter, Joanne Woodward Dufficy lives in San Rafael, CA with her husband, Dan, and son, Ryan. An Episcopal memorial service will be held in the chapel at Spring Lake Village on Saturday, October 4th, at 2:30 p.m. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 100 NE 1st Street, Gainesville, FL 32601.
Published in the Press Democrat from October 2 to October 3, 2008

Ann would like to reunite the 1904 wedding invitation with a family member.
Any descendants of Percy Emmons Woodward can email Ann Bergin at

The Giddings Family Register Chest

It’s amazing where you can find family history.  We were touring the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.  I don’t have any ancestors in Vermont.  We were there to see the folk art, which includes many weather vanes.  Of course, everything there is interesting and historical, so we were poking around in every building.  Inside one of the museum buildings, the Stone House, there was this chest.

The top of the chest looked like this.

So of course, we took a lot of photos because it was GENEALOGY.  The docent there said it was one of a kind, and I believe her.  I’ve seen family bibles, and family tree samplers, and other such household items with genealogy on them, but I’ve never seen a chest with a marble top carved with a family register. 

Then on second look I said to my husband, “Look, this is a Giddings family.  I have Giddings from Essex County, Massachusetts.  Do you think this family of Connecticut Giddings is related?”  We laughed, but I encouraged him to take a few more photos.  As soon as we arrived home I checked my files. 

Sure enough!  Deacon Thomas Giddings of Hartland, Connecticut was my first cousin 7 generations removed!  His father, Thomas Giddings (1683 – 1754) is the brother to my 8th great grandmother, Elizabeth Giddings (1666 – 1725) who married Mark Haskell (b. 1685).  And, to make it even more interesting… his mother, Sarah Andrews (1685 – 1749) is the sister to John Andrews (1691 – 1762), my 6th great grandfather in another lineage!

And so, yes, the Connecticut Giddings are related to the Chebacco Parish, Essex County, Massachusetts Giddings.  And this chest probably ended up in Vermont because Deacon Thomas Giddings’s wife, Mary Colt, died in Rutland, Vermont in 1812.

Small world indeed….

Genealogy of the Giddings Family:

Generation 1: George Giddings,  son of John Gidding and Joan Purrier, born 24 September 1609 in Clapham, Bedfordshire, England; died 1 June 1676 in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts; married on 20 February 1634 in St. Albans, Herfordshire, England to Jane Lawrence, daughter of Thomas Lawrence and John Antrobus. Eight children. (I descend from Thomas and John)

Generation 2: John Giddings, born about 1639, died 3 March 1691 in the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich, Massachusetts (now the town of Essex); married about 1660 to Sarah Alcock, daughter of John Alcock.  She was born about 1642 in Kittery, Maine, and died 29 December 1711 in Gloucester, Massachusetts.  Ten children.

Generation 3. Thomas Giddings, born 19 May 1683 in Chebacco Parish, died 3 September 1754 in Lyme, Connecticut; married on 1 June 1708 in Ipswich, Massachusetts to Sarah Andrews, daughter of Joseph Andrews and Sarah Ring.  She was born 16 July 1685 in Chebacco Parish, and died 1 February 1749 in Lyme.

Generation 4: Thomas Giddings m. Mary Colt/Coult

                                                George Giddings m. Jane Lawrence
                                                John Giddings m. Sarah Alcock
Thomas Giddings m. Sarah Andrews                         Elizabeth Giddings m. Mark Haskell 
                        I                                                                                   I
Thomas Giddings m. Mary Colt/Coult                       Mark Haskell m. Martha Tuthill
                                                                                    Lucy Haskell m. Jabez Treadwell
                                                                                    Nathaniel Treadwell m. Mary Hovey
                                                                                    Jabez Treadwell m. Betsey Jillings Homan
                                                                                    Eliza Ann Treadwell m. Abijah Hitchings
                                                                        Abijah Franklin Hitchings m. Hannah Eliza Lewis
                                                            Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
                                                            Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen
                                                                                                (my grandparents)

Also the Andrews Family Chart:

                                                John Andrews m. Sarah Conant
                                                John Andrews m. Jane Jordan
                                                Joseph Andrews m. Sarah Ring
                        I                                                                                   I
Sarah Andrews m. Thomas Giddings                         John Andrews m. Elizabeth Wallis
                        I                                                                                   I
Thomas Giddings m. Mary Colt/Coult                       John Andrews m. Martha Cogswell
                                                                                    James Andrews m. Lucy Presson/Preston
                                                                                    Orpha Andrews m. Joseph Allen
                                                                        Joseph Gilman Allen m. Sarah Burnham Mears
                                                                        Joseph Elmer Allen m. Carrie Maude Batchelder
                                                                        Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings
                                                                                                (my grandparents)


Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo