Friday, December 6, 2019

Holbrook line: Benjamin Clough of Boston 1694-1744

It's exciting and it's scary to find information that casts doubt on what has long been believed to be true.  This post will raise doubts about some parts of Benjamin's life and answer some questions about other parts.

First, Benjamin's parents are given as Benoni and Hannah Merrill Clough, of Salisbury in Essex County, Massachusetts.  It's true that they had a son Benjamin.  The John Clough family history says that Benjamin, son of Benoni, when to Kingston, New Hampshire, where a Benjamin Clough certainly lived and died, and was a Revolutionary War patriot.  However, the Benjamin Clough in New Hampshire is not ours.  His wife's name is wrong, as are the children, and the death date, and just about everything about that Benjamin.  Also, that Benjamin's father, as listed on DAR records, was Cornelios Clough.  Cornelios possibly had two wives, as there are two different names given as the New Hampshire Patriot's mother. 

Because of the Thweng records, we know that Benjamin was a blacksmith, and that he acquired several parcels of land on Sheafe Street and also on Hull Street, starting in 1720.  In the deeds he is almost always referred to as blacksmith, to avoid any confusion as to other Benjamin Clough's, apparently.  He was constable of Boston in 1727 and 1728, so he was respected.  In fact, on his tombstone he is noted as "Mr."

Benjamin and Faith had at least five children together, and Benjamin would have worked hard to support them, catechize them, and find them jobs and spouses.  In 1738, the town took one of Benjamin's houses and "improved" it to be a hospital, during a smallpox epidemic.  We're not told how Benjamin was repaid, or whether this was a permanent confiscation.  At the time, the house was on the west edge of town.

Benjamin wrote his will June 18, 1744 and it was entered into probate on July 31, 1744.  In it, he disposes of his real estate, leaving much of it to his wife during her widowhood. He also gives her "his" Negro woman Jenny and Jenny's child called Violet, as well as all his household goods.  When his inventory is taken, there is very little mentioned in the way of household goods, just a couple of desks and some books, among other things.  His total estate, which does not mention the slaves, was valued at a little over 309 pounds.

He is buried at Kings Chapel cemetery (not affiliated with the church of that name), and ironically, I may have been there without understanding its significance to our family.  When I took a tour of the Freedom Trail in 1998, this was one of our stops.  I was not actively interested in genealogy at that time and had no idea that ancestors had lived in Boston, but I appreciated the history and the fact that the cemetery was being cared for, all these years later.  The stone gives Benjamin the honorific of "Mr." and says that he died July 6, 1744, aged 53 years and 11 months.  So if that age is correct, Benjamin was actually born in 1690, and therefore likely not the son of Benoni and Hannah.

So we have a quandary.  Who was Benjamin Clough, the blacksmith in Boston who was our ancestor? His first child's name was Joseph, but I don't know if that is a clue or not.  I'd love to figure out who his parents are, and I'd also like to know whether he was involved in any military expeditions.  Did he stay a faithful member of the church?  I'd love to find out more about him, but at least we have this much.

The line of descent is:

Benjamin Clough-Faith Hart
Lydia Clough-John Whittemore
Josiah Whittemore-Lucy Snow
Josiah Whittemore- Betsy Foster
Mary Elizabeth Whittmore-Joseph Holbrook
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

I'm so grateful to American Ancestors and to Ancestry, who each had good information in their databases.  These men who were colonial ancestors, but not necessarily immigrants, are difficult to trace!





Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Holbrook line: Kingsland Comstock, another elusive ancestor

I almost regret trying to write a blog post about Kingsland.  I find wide variations on his birth date, no record of his death date, no location to be sure of, and nothing at all about him.  I think I know who his parents are, I am reasonably sure who his wife was, and I do have information that may or may not be correct about his children.  He may be hiding in plain sight but so far I haven't caught many glimpses of him.

Kingsland was the son of Kingsland and Mary Atwell Comstock.  Supposedly his parents were married in 1711, which is a bit of a problem.  First, I can't find documentation for that, and secondly, our Kingsland is presumed to be older than can be accounted for by this couple, if the marriage date is correct.  We know that Kingsland married Rachel Crocker on September 18, 1717 in New London, so Kingsland would presumably have been in the neighborhood of 25 years old then.  That gives a birthdate of about 1692.  Kingsland Sr. and Mary were old enough to have been married when our Kingsland was born  So either Mary Atwell was a second wife, or the marriage date, undocumented, is simply wrong. 

At any rate, the younger Kingsland had at least three brothers and one sister.  The family is believed to have stayed in New London, where our Kingsland married in 1717.  But with absolutely no record to be found after a moderate amount of research, I'm wondering whether he may have taken his family elsewhere.  Kingsland and Rachel are believed to have had at least seven children, all born between 1718 and 1727.  After the 1727 birth, Kingsland disappears from New London records.  Did they live off the grid, so to speak, or did Kingsland possibly desert his family?  Did he die at sea? 

I've not found a record of a will for Kingsland, nor an inventory.  This further exclaims "Mystery" to me.  His mother Mary died in 1755 and left a small estate, but the papers I've found didn't include a distribution.  The supposition is that Kingsland was already deceased by then.

 I wonder if he had actually left New London for some reason?   I wonder what his occupation was  and whether he attended church after his children were baptized.  I wonder if he was literate.  I wonder if he did leave his family an estate that has been lost.  I wonder why he is so mysterious! 

The line of descent is

Kingsland Comstock-Rachel Crocker
Rachel Comstock-John Eames
John Eames-Elizabeth Longbottom
Hannah Eames-James Lamphire
Susan Lamphire-Joseph Eddy
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Friday, November 29, 2019

Holbrook line: Israel Lazell 1671-1755

Eighty four years ought to have been enough to have left more of a footprint than our ancestor Israel seems to have left.  I have birth and marriage records, his will, and an inventory.  I don't have a death record, I don't have a burial location, I don't know what church he attended, if any, and I don't have a reference to his occupation, although I can guess it from the inventory.  There is also one reference that he was a constable for a one year period.  End of story.

So, even though this will be a short post, this is what I know so far.  Israel Lazell was born September 24, 1671 in Hingham, Massachusetts to John and Elizabeth Gates Lazell.  He was one of at least 11 children born to the couple, and he apparently lived his whole life out in Hingham.  I say apparently because for some reason I am not locating a death record there, although his will states he was of Hingham, in Suffolk County.  It is of course possible that he died elsewhere, perhaps on a visit to one of his children.  Hingham was attacked by the natives so it's likely that his family evacuated the town, at least for a time. 

The first we hear of Israel after his birth is his marriage, to Rachel Lincoln, daughter of Daniel and Susanna Cushing Lincoln, also of Hingham, on July 6, 1698.  I don't know the religion of this couple but their first names indicate they were likely Puritan.  The Old Ship Church in Hingham was built in 681, when Israel would have been just ten years old, and this is likely the church that he and his family attended both before and after his marriage.  Israel and Rachel had at least four children who survived, and possibly others who died young.  We don't know how literate Israel was, but he did sign his name to his will, and there were books in his inventory, so he must have had more than the minimal amount of education.  (Typically, boys of this period learned to read and write, and girls learned to read well enough to read the Bible.) 

The next information I've found about Israel is his will.  Rachel had died in April of 1748 but it appears that Israel kept on doing what it was he was doing (farming, it appears) up until his final illness.  The inventory is more extensive than would have been necessary for just one man living by himself.  But wait, there's a discovery.  Listed on his inventory is "one Negro woman".  So he had a slave who cooked and cleaned for him, and probably took care of the smaller livestock and spun wool (a spinning wheel is in the inventory) and most of the things that a wife would have done.  We have no way of knowing how long he had "owned" her or what her age, or her name, may have been. 

Other information on the inventory is also revealing, though not as surprising.  He had a sword, and several pieces of land (given away in the will), cattle and oxen and sheep, a fishing rod (Hingham is on the coast line), a "pare" of spectacles, 4 barrels of cider, several books, and furniture including a "great chare".  In the will, it looks like our ancestor Isaac received a double share of the land that was granted.  The total estate was valued at about 755 pounds, which was not large but would have been enough to have helped his sons a bit. 

That's what I know about Israel.  It sounds like he worked hard, farmed and fished, and was mostly occupied with supporting his family rather than public service.  He deserves to have his place in our family tree noted. 

The line of descent is: 

Israel Lazell-Rachel Lincoln
Isaac Lazell-Deborah Marsh
Deborah Lazell-Levi Rockwood
Susanna Rockwood-Nahum Holbrook
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Holbrook line: John Rockwood 1641-1724

Our ancestor is notorious, not because he did anything wrong, but because he has confused and confounded genealogists and family historians.  His death date is often given far too early, 1676, when it was his son John Rockwood who died during an attack by the Nipmucks during King Philip's War.  He is sometimes assigned to the wrong parents.  Nicholas Rockwood and Margaret Holbrook are not correct, as they didn't marry until our John was a teenager.  Having said that, here's what we do know about John Rockwood, whose name is sometimes spelled Rocket or Rockett, just to make it more fun to research him. 

He was born November 1, 1641 probably at Braintree, Massachusetts (even though the vital records don't seem to list his birth there).  His parents were Richard Rockwood and Agnes Lovell, sometimes seen as Agnes Bicknell.  Actually, Robert Charles Anderson doesn't accept that her maiden name was Lovell.  She was married to Zachary Bicknell and married Richard Rockwood as a widow.  John had an older step brother and at least two sisters who apparently grew up in the same household. 

He married Joanna Ford, daughter of someone named Ford, apparently.  There seems to be no firm resolution as to this; I've seen Nicholas, Thomas, and William Ford each listed on a different website as her father.  However, I can say that they married July 15, 1662 in Braintree.  John and Joanna had at least ten children together. Some were born in Braintree, some in Mendon, and some in Medfield.  The family moved to Mendon by 1667, when John was awarded land in the meadows, probably indicating he already had a houselot, although it wasn't surveyed until 1669.  That same year, he was appointed to a committee to agree on the boundaries between Mendon and Dedham.

John would likely have been content to stay his whole life in Mendon, but King Philip's War, particularly the burning of the towa n and the death of his twelve year old son, sent him and the family to Medfield for at least a few years.  It would have been a fearsome time, and difficult to rebuilt after losing everything.  I don't find him listed as a soldier in the war but he would have been only 34 or 35 years old so it's likely that he at least did garrison duty or was otherwise engaged with the militia.

His will tells us that he was a husbandman, or farmer.  Joanna had died at some point because his will refers to his wife Rebecca, identified elsewhere as Rebecca Crafts.  He wrote his will in Mendon but there isn't a death record there, so he may have moved, either to be with his wife's family or with one of his children.  Unfortunately, I've not found an inventory for him, yet, which may indicate he had already disposed of his land and had few personal possessions. 

John Rockwood was one of those quiet men, it seems, who took care of his family, saw sorrow and joy, and helped build New England.  I'd like to learn more about him.

The line of descent is:

John Rockwood-Joanna Ford
Joanna Rockwood-Nicholas Cook               
Mary Cook-Joseph Holbrook
Jesse Holbrook-Abigail Thayer
Amariah Holbrook-Molly Wright
Nahum Holbrook-Susanna Rockwood
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Second line starts with John Rockwood and Joanna Ford
Joseph Rockwood-Mary Hayward
John Rockwood-Deborah Thayer
Joseph Rockwood-Alice Thompson
Levi Rockwood-Deborah Lazell
Susannah Rockwood-Nahum Holbrook
and on as above.  So Susannah and Nahum were fourth cousins.  I wonder if they knew that?

Friday, November 22, 2019

Holbrook line: Thomas Stansbury 1714-1798

Thomas Stansbury is especially important to this family because of the woman he chose to marry.  She is a descendant of a gateway ancestor, one of several who connect us in a long line back to royalty, history, and fun.  (I love gateway ancestors, only because there are paper trails and it's relatively easy to learn about the connections.  I love my plain Jane (or Joe) ancestors, too, but many of them I will never even have names for.)

Thomas is sometimes known as Thomas Stansbury Jr., because his parents were Thomas and Jane Dixon Hayes Stansbury.  He was born in Saint Paul's Parish, Baltimore County, Maryland on April 24, 1714, which is now part of the Baltimore Historic District.  At the time of the church's founding in 192, it was in a more rural setting, close to the Patapsco River.  He was one of at least six children. 

Thomas married Hannah Gorsuch, daughter of Charles and Sarah Cole Gorsuch and descendant of Anne Lovelace Gorsuch, the gateway ancestor, on March 2, 1734/35 in St. Paul's, Baltimore. The couple had at least twelve children together, ten of whom are mentioned in Thomas's will.  He left nothing to daughter Jane, apparently because she was already wealthy, and one child had died early.

Although Thomas is listed as a patriot on the DAR website, he apparently had some difficulty in making an early decision about which side of the Revolutionary War to support.  He was called before a "Committee" on May 19, 1776, because he had been reported as making comments favorable to the British.  He was cleared of that suspicion and thanked for his zeal in supporting his country (which would become, but was not yet, the USA).  The church the Stansbury family attended was Anglican and these families, as a whole, were more likely to support the British side than, say, our New England ancestors who descended from Puritans.  By 1778, Thomas had definitely made up his mind when he took the oath of fidelity and support required by the state of Maryland of all voters and of all office holders. 

Thomas was a plantation owner, and had a few slaves listed in his "personal property" inventory.  It appears that at one time he had owned a great deal of land but I've not found a will to see whether he distributed the land in his will, or land records to see whether he had disposed of it earlier.  Land that he may have owned at one time included "Dixon's Neck" of 450 acres, "Stansbury's Good Luck" of 90 acres, "Father's Care" of 100 acres, "Jerrico" of 700 acres, "Luke's Goodwill" of 111 acres, and 650 acres of "Franklin's Purchase".  I haven't done the research to back this up and it's possible that some of these lands belonged to another Thomas Stansbury.  Nor do I know whether he owned them all at once, or serially.  It does indicate, however, that land perhaps needed to be replenished, perhaps because he was growing a crop like tobacco, which could generally be planted only three years in a row, and then the land needed to rest for ten years or so.  It's also possible that he was a wealthy man.

Thomas died June 15, 1798 in Baltimore.  I haven't yet found his will, but I did locate his inventory filed on August 6, 1798.  Thomas was 84 years old when he died, but he still "owned" 6 Negroes, as they were called.  He owned horses and swine, tools, a few crops (17 bushels of corn), and some, but not a lot, furniture and household goods. He also owned a gun, a rifle, and an old sword. Perhaps he was already downsizing and had given some of his property to children or grandchildren.  Hannah lived until September of 1800 but I didn't locate her by name in the 1800 census.  She was likely living with one of her children. 

It's interesting to think about Thomas, about how his life was so very different from ours, and about how he came to change his political beliefs.  I'd love to sit and chat with this couple, to absorb a little of their culture and to learn how he treated his slaves.  I hope he was as close to being a good master as he could be, given that a master, by definition, would not fit the 21st century meaning of good.

The line of descent is:

Thomas Stansbury-Hannah Gorsuch
Rachel Stansbury-Alexis Lemmon
Sarah Lemmon-Abraham Hetrick
Isaac Hetrick-Elizabeth Black
Mary Alice Hetrick-Louis Stanard
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Holbrook line: The remarkable Elizabeth Stannard 1884-1959

My mother thought she was a very interesting person.  My research shows this to be true.  I actually had the privilege of her acquaintance, although I was very young and she was very old (to me) when she passed away.  I remember the phone call, and I remember thinking I should cry, but mostly I remember thinking that now she wouldn't be able to tell us more of her stories.  Unfortunately, I don't remember her stories, but here is a little of her story.

Elizabeth was born to Louis Elwin and Mary Alice Hetrick Stanard on August 18, 1884, somewhere in Kansas-likely Harvey County but I've not found a record that gives a precise location.  She was the oldest of the three children, and was early a bit of a rebel as she spelled her name with two "n's" and her parents and grandparents, and probably two generations beyond that, had used one "n".  The story is that her ancestor changed the spelling of his name after a sign painter was able to only include 7 letters in a storefront sign he painted for one of the family back in New York.  Some of the descendants kept the shortened spelling and some did not, and Elizabeth and her sister, Etta, reverted to the longer version.

We know Louis and Mary Alice were in Ottawa, Kansas in 1900 and in 1905.  Shortly after that, about 1908, the family (Etta trailing by a few years) packed up and moved to Stevens County, Washington.  Louis and Mary Alice had a home there, and Elizabeth also homesteaded, receiving her patent in 1915.  She taught school to pay to have her land cleared, but she apparently built the "improvements" herself, including putting a roof on her barn.  She taught school in Stevens County for several years and in 1916, before women could vote in national elections, was elected superintendent of schools for Stevens County.  Although these were not large schools, there were many, and visiting schools, hiring teachers, overseeing curriculum, and other duties kept her so busy that she hired her father to be her assistant superintendent.  During this time, she was also assisting her father in setting up Sunday school classes (Baptist) all over the area.

She must have been a good hearted, family loving woman because there are several comments in the local newspaper that she was tending to this or that family suffering from the flu, presumably, due to the dates, that flu known as the "Spanish influenza" that hit the area hard.  Her sister-in-law, wife of Elwin Stanard, died of influenza in 1920., but I don't know that she was directly involved in her care. 

By 1920 Elizabeth was living in Spokane, Washington as a boarder, and teaching Latin at Lewis and Clark High school there.  Her father died in 1923 and soon Elizabeth bought a home and her mother came to live with her.  She helped raise her brother's three sons and possibly two daughters, especially when they were attending high school.  Interestingly, in 1930 she is the home owner and in 1940 the census shows her as the sister of the homeowner.  It's the same address, and she always owned the house so the census taker didn't get the straight goods on this.  She also helped raise the two sons of her sister, and it seems they all stayed with her when school was in session.

While she was helping raise her nephews and nieces, and watching after her sister who sometimes needed guidance, she continued her education.  An article about her retirement in 1949 states (and I haven't proven this) that her graduate work included studies at Columbia, Reed, University of Washington, Gonzaga, the University of Chicago, Washington State College and Eastern Washington College of Education.  She taught for 44 years, but she never stopped learning, and she did all this while caring for her extended family, and for her mother as she aged.

When she retired, she didn't sit around doing nothing, not our Bessie.  She was always active at Liberty Park Baptist Church, and in various civic organizations.  And she became a world traveler.  The family story is that some of the Stannard boys helped her go to Europe at least twice.  On the first trip, she sailed on the Queen Elizabeth and the trip included Egypt.  The second trip seems to have been more in the northern part of Europe, including Switzerland and Germany.  She brought back gifts for her nieces and nephews from Jerusalem, Denmark, England, Switzerland, and probably other places. (I still treasure a small volume of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales that she gave to me,)

Elizabeth Stannard died suddenly on July 8, 1959 in Spokane.  I hope I've told you enough about her that you, too, will smile when you think of her.  She was stern, funny, loving, giving, a strict disciplinarian and yes, remarkable.  I wish I'd heard more of her stories!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Allen line: The second Daniel Scofield 1648-1714

Sometimes it's difficult to find anything new about the second generation of colonists.  Sometimes it's hard to find anything at all about them.  With Daniel Scofield, son of one Daniel Scofield and father of another, we are somewhat more fortunate.  I've been able to pull some bits and pieces together that will help us get an idea of his life.  I say, "idea" because there is still much I don't know. 

Daniel was the second son of Daniel and first wife Sarah Scofield.  The elder Daniel was one of the early founders of the townof Stamford, Connecticut, and was first named as a resident in 1641 (settlement had begun in 1640.)  Our subject, Daniel II, was born about 1647 or 1648, but I've not found documentation for an actual date.  He was one of at least five children, and he outlived his siblings.

One mystery about Daniel at this point is his occupation.  He was financially stable, perhaps even well off, judging by tax records of 1700, but it's not clear how he made his living.  He married Abigail Merwin, daughter of Miles and Elizabeth Powell Merwin, in Stamford in about 1671, when he was about 24 years old.  He and Abigail had at least eight children together. 

Daniel's house lot was number three in the town according to a map from 1685.  I don't know whether he inherited this lot or whether he purchased it from someone, but it was certainly an early number and may indicate either that the lots were assigned by drawing, or that the original owner had his choice of lots. 

Daniel wasn't in the top tier of town government.  Most of his duties had to do with the church, such as helping to settle disputes, tything man, and he also was made a townsman in 1700.  (I'm not sure whether this was a "freeman" or whether this was what Massachusetts referred to as a selectman, a member of the council.  That same year he was appointed a sheepmaster, to take care of the flock. 

In the town tax records of 1700, his estate was valued at 115 pounds, 5 shillings.  There were men in town with higher valuations, but not many.  So he made money somehow, and was more than the term sheepmaster might indicate to us.

Daniel lived his life, and died October 10, 1714.  I don't know whether he ever left the village he was born in, although Long Island Sound borders the town, and it wouldn't have been far to travel to New York, or to Hartford, for that matter.

His inventory is not detailed but it indicates that he had several parcels of land and homes, valued at about 300 pounds, and 149 pounds in personal property.  An additional amount had been set aside for Abigail.  There were debts to be paid.  It's interesting that it appears that more was spent for rum and sugar, apparently for the funeral or visitation, than for the coffin.  The boards for the coffin were two shillings, the coffin making (marking? not sure I read this correctly) was three shillings and four pence, and the rum and sugar was 10 shillings and 10 pence.   

I've not found record of Abigail's death but several sites list it as 1714 also.  She is mentioned extensively in the settlement papers so she was still alive as of November 29, 1714.  I guess her death date is one of the questions still unanswered, as well as how Daniel made his living. This, however, is more information than we have for many ancestors, and it is enough to recognize that Daniel was a hard working, pious man. 

The line of descent is:

Daniel Scofield-Abigail Merwin
Daniel Scofield-Hannah Hoyt
Hannah Scofield-Nathaniel Finch
Jesse Finch-Hannah
Hannah Finch-John Bell
Hannah Bell-Thomas Knott
John Wilson Knott-Harriet Starr
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants