Saturday, November 29, 2014

52 Ancestors #47 Edmund Towne's Sisters Get Snagged by Salem Witch Trials

Salem Witch Trials & the Towne Family 
I was researching the grandparents of Rebecca Towne (mother of David Towne Petts), and pushed back a couple generations to Ezra Towne (which will be another post). Then I read this in a book:
The Towne family became prominent in the second generation because of the witchcraft hysteria...of 1692…claiming three women from among Ezra Towne’s ancestors.
The three sisters’ elder brother Edmund Towne…founded the branch of the Ezra Towne family from which Ezra Towne descended.

in 1807, the year of Ezra’s birth, several Towne families still lived in Topsfield, where Ezra’s father, Jacob Towne, was town clerk. His mother, Mary Perkins Towne, also descended from an old Topsfield family. (from My Ever Dear Daughter by  Katherine Morgan)
Salem Witchcraft Trials?
Yes, indeed, my husband’s 10th gr-grandfather & mother were William Towne and Joanna (Jone) Blessing
Their sons, Edmund (my husband’s 9th great grandfather), Jacob and Joseph all founded large families in Topsfield, MA. 

But their daughters Rebecca Nurse, Mary Easty and  Sarah  Cloyse (Cloyce), of Salem Village (now Danvers) were all eventually tried for witchcraft during the infamous Salem Witchcraft trials:

  • Rebecca (Towne) Nurse 1622 – 1692 hanged at 71 years for witchcraft. 
  • Mary (Towne)  Easty abt 1634- 22 Sep 1692 hanged in Salem Village, Essex, MA
  • Sarah (Towne) Cloyse /Cloyce – fled with 2nd husband Peter to refuge in Danforth Planation (now Framingham MA)
What is the Story?
Let’s walk through it by generation, but only looking at a handful of generations. 

**For each generation below, I've bolded the names of the people who my husband descends from**

I’ll gloss over the details here, but detailed Salem Trials notes can be read at the end of the post, at a library or online.
All of my sources are easily accessible from books online or historical research done by universities and made publicly available online, unless otherwise noted. The end of the post has sources used.

(Dates of husband's ancestors are either approximate. If certain, then I took them from Massachusetts Town Records from online access.)

 ---William Towne, 10th great grandfather
William Towne, Son of settler John Towne (1599-1673)

William Towne was born abt 1599 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. 
Baptism: March 18, 1599, St. Nicholas, Great Yarmouth, England 
He died abt. 1672 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. 

William Towne & Joanna Blessing
He married Joanna (or Jone) Blessing April 25, 1620 in St. Nicholas Church, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England.  She was born 1594 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England and died 1682 in Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts.
Buried at Pine Hill Cemetery, Topsfield, Massachusetts (no markers)
At Salem, on October 11, 1640, the town

“Graunted to William Townde a little neck of land right over against his howse on the other side of the riuer to be sett out by the towne.” 
This grant was part of the Division of the North Field – Salem, Mass. [Now Salem, Northfields]
In June and July, 1640, he brought an action of debt against John Cook, at Salem.  

William and Francis Nurse [possibly son-in-law, husband of Rebecca Towne Nurse see notes at end on Rebecca Towne Nurse] asked the town for a grant of land on March 20, 1647, and it was then ordered that the land be surveyed before a decision should be made as to granting it. 

Their Children:
* 1 Rebecca (see end for more notes on her) b. Abt. 1622, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England; D July 19, 1692, Salem, Essex,  MA.
2. John  B. Abt. 1624, Great Yarmouth, England; D. abt. 1672, MA.
3  Susanna 1625-1630, England
4. Sergeant Edmund B. abt. 1628, St Nicholas Parish Church, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England; 

D. 1678, Topsfield, Essex Co., MA (9th gr-grandfather)
5  Ensign Jacob, B. abt. 1632, Great Yarmouth, England;      D. November 27, 1704, Topsfield, Essex, MA.
* 6. Mary, (see end for more notes on her) B. abt. 1634, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England; D. September 22, 1692, Salem, Essex, MA
7. Joseph  B abt. 1639, Topsfield, Essex Co., MA; D. February 21, 1714, Topsfield, Essex, MA.
* 8 Sarah, (see end for more notes on her) B 1648 Salem, Salem, Essex, MA; D abt. 1703, Framingham, Middlesex Co., MA 

William and Joanna Towne Move to Topsfield from Salem Town
In 1652 they moved to Topsfield, Massachusetts, [originally called New Meadows] from North Fields of Salem Town.
In Topsfield he purchased 40 acres of land, and made further purchases in 1656. 

He was listed among those to share in the common lands at Topsfield. 
Topsfield is about 11 miles northwest of Salem-Town (present-day Salem).

Salem Witchcraft Trials
Many Topsfield residents were accused of witchcraft until the hysteria ended in May 1693.

The causes of the 1692 witchcraft episode continue to be the subject of historical study. 
There is a consensus view that land disputes and/or economic rivalry among factions in Salem Town [where the present day Salem is], Salem Village 
[renamed Danvers in 1792] and Topsfield fueled animosity and played an underlying role.

Salem (harbor) Town as it may have been

Salem Village Meeting House -reconstruction now Danvers
Three of William's grown children were accused, two were hanged and the third narrowly escaped with her life. More reading on the trials & the family, see notes at the end of this post
The son Edmund, my husband’s 9th gr-grandfather had already died long before the witch trials had begun.
All of the Towne sons who survived to adulthood, Edmund, Jacob and Joseph, founded large families in Topsfield, MA.
However the Towne women, Rebecca Nurse, Mary Esty (Easty) and Sarah Cloyes/Cloyse each were charged in the Salem witchcraft trials (as mentioned).

William Towne’s Death
William Towne died at Topsfield in 1673, and administration on his estate was granted to his widow in June 24, 1673.
His widow died in or about 1682, and on January 17, 1682, the six children signed a petition for the settlement of her estate.

---Edmund Towne – 9th Great Grandfather
Sergeant Edmund Towne (1628-abt 1717) 

Edmund Towne was baptized June 28, 1628, St Nicholas Parish Church, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. 

It is unclear but believed that by 1637 William and his family, including Edmund were in the colony.

Eventually the Townes family moved to Salem Town (prior to moving to Topsfield).  
Edmund's Family
Edmund married Mary Browning on March 25, 1652 at Topsfield, Mass.  
Mary Browning, the daughter of Thomas Browning,  was baptized January 7, 1638 and died abt. 1717.

Work, etc
Edmund was a juror in 1655, a commissioner in 1661, and a freeman in 1664.
In June, 1666, he was appointed Corporal of the Topsfield military company.

In 1674, he was part of a committee to petition the Court for permission to form a military guard to protect the settlers.
In 1675 Edmund was part of Topsfield committee that presented a petition to the General Court for permission to form military companies to protect the inhabitants while they worked in the fields from the Indians raids. 

He was entered as "Sergeant Towne" in the Topsfield records in 1677.

In 1684 the widow Mary Towne appeared on the list of Topsfield Church members.

Edmund died early in 1678 in Topsfield, MA, dying intestate (without a will).  

Ed. Towne Probate record
Mary, his wife presented an "Intent and Purpose" that the mind of the deceased was the same as hers regarding the distribution of his estate, which was to equally divide the estate amongst the five girls, only Sarah, the second daughter, being married and have already received 25 pounds.
Administration was granted to the widow, Mary Towne, on April 27, 1678.
The inventory was taken by Francis Peabody, Thomas' son-in-law, and Thomas Baker, which included land (excluding land inherited from father-in-law, Thomas Browning) worth 292 pounds.

Mary made her will on February 1, 1710 and it was proved December 16, 1717

Children of Edmund Towne and Mary Browning:

1  Mary B. 1653, Topsfield, Essex, MA; D. 1731; M. John Pri(t)chard  March 01, 1681, Topsfield, Essex, MA
2 Thomas  B 1655, Topsfield, Essex, MA; D.  1720 M Sarah French
3 Sarah B. April 26, 1657, Topsfield, Essex, MA; M Captain John Howe  bef. December 20, 1686, Topsfield, Essex, MA
4. John Towne B April 2, 1658
5 William B March 13, 1659, Topsfield, Essex C, MA; D January 30, 1750. M. Margaret Willard

6 Joseph B September 02, 1661, Topsfield, Essex, MA; D 1717, Topsfield, Essex, MA M. Amy Smith
7. Towne D March 07, 1663; D March 7, 1663?
8 Abigail  B August 06, 1664, Topsfield, Essex, MA; D 1712  M 1st Jacob Peabody; M 2nd Thomas Perley
8 Benjamin  B May 26, 1666; D before 1678.
9 Rebecca B. Feb. 2, 1668
10 Elizabeth  B. November 2, 1669 Topsfield, Essex, MA; M. Thomas Wilkins  December 19, 1694.
11 Samuel (1673-1714), M. Elizabeth Knight
12 Rebecca b. February 02, 1668, Topsfield, Essex, MA; M 1st Nicholas Bailey; M 2nd Phillip Knight bef. August 20, 1693, Topsfield, Essex, MA 

-- Joseph Towne 8th Great Grandfather
Joseph Towne (1661-1772) 

Joseph Towne was born September 2, 1661 in Topsfield, Essex, MA.
Joseph married Amy Smith (variously spelled Eamy, Amey, etc). 

Amy Smith was the  daughter of Robert Smith and Mary French. 
She was born August 16, 1668 in Rowley, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, and died February 22, 1756 in Topsfield, Essex, MA.

Joseph's Work
Joseph was a surveyor of highways in 1691, a selectman in 1694, and a constable in 1697.

Joseph's Will
Joseph Towne made his will on May 18, 1717, and it was proved on the following December. He died in Topsfield, MA.
To his wife "Emmy" [yet another spelling of Amy] he left his household furniture, a cow and one-third of his real estate.
His son Daniel, who had the homestead, was to allow his mother a living room and a chamber above it during her life. 
To his son, Benjamin, he left other real property, while the younger children, Nathan, Jesse, Nathaniel, Amos and Amy received cc30 apiece.
Benjamin and Daniel were appointed executors and the witnesses were William Towne, Jacob Towne and John Curtis.
Their children:
1 Benjamin Towne Born May 10, 1691 in Topsfield, Essex, MA and died February 11, 1772 in Topsfield, Essex, MA
2 Nathan Towne 1693- D. Abt. 1762, Andover, Essex, MA.
3 Daniel Towne 1695-1712
4  Jesse Towne 1695-1754 Wells, York Co., Maine.
5 Sergeant  Nathaniel Towne 1700-?
6 Amy Towne 1703-?; M. William Hobbs, January 10, 1727, Salem, Essex, MA
7 Joseph Towne 1703- bef. 1717
8 Amos Towne 1709-1747 Died en-route to Annapolis, Nova Scotia. 

Note: Benjamin Towne and subsequent Townes will appear in post #48
---------------------FURTHER READING------------------

Salem Witch Trials
In early 1692, the controversial minister of Salem Village (now Danvers, MA) Rev Parris's  Elizabeth, 12-year-old niece Abigail Williams, as well as other neighborhood girls began to fall into fits. 

Their parents tried to discover what was causing their distress, and village doctor William Griggs gave his opinion that the girls were the victims of witchcraft. 

Put upon to tell who was causing their afflictions, the girls finally accused three village women, and warrants were sworn out for the arrest of Sarah Osburn, Sarah Good and Parris's slave who had come from Barbadoes with the family, Tituba.

This was the start of the “first wave accusations” located in Salem Village (now Danvers); Salem Town (now Salem); Topsfield, Lynn, Reading.

Red dots show locations of 1st wave of Accusations

About Edmund's sisters: 
Rebecca, Mary & Sarah, Some of the Accused
Rebecca Towne Nurse  (February 21, 1621 – July 19, 1692) was executed for witchcraft by the government of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England in 1692, during the Salem witch trials.
Although there was no credible evidence against her, she was hanged as a witch on July 19, 1692. Massachusetts colony was seized with hysteria over witchcraft and the supposed presence of Satan within the colony. 

(Her sisters Mary Eastey and Sarah Cloyce were also accused of witchcraft).
Mary was the daughter of William and Joanna Towne born in 1621.
Around 1644, she married Francis Nurse who was also born in England. 

Her husband was a "tray maker" by trade, who likely made many other wooden household items. Due to the rarity of such household goods, artisans of that medium were esteemed. Nurse and her family lived on a vast homestead which was part of a 300-acre (1.2 km2) grant given to Townsend Bishop in 1636.
Francis originally rented it and then gradually paid it off throughout his lifetime. 

Together, the couple bore eight children: four daughters and four sons.
Nurse frequently attended church and her family was well respected in Salem Village; Francis was often asked to be an unofficial judge to help settle matters around the village.
In 1672, Francis served as Salem's Constable.
It was later written that Rebecca had "acquired a reputation for exemplary piety that was virtually unchallenged in the community," making her one of the "unlikely" persons to be accused of witchcraft.
Accusation, trial, release and re-trial
The Nurse family had been involved in a number of acrimonious land disputes with the Putnam family.
On March 23, 1692, a warrant was issued for her arrest based upon accusations made by Edward and John Putnam.
Upon hearing of the accusations the frail 71-year-old Nurse, often described as an invalid, said, "I am innocent as the child unborn, but surely, what sin hath God found out in me unrepented of, that He should lay such an affliction on me in my old age."
There was a public outcry over the accusations made against her, as she was considered to be of very pious character.
Thirty-nine of the most prominent members of the community signed a petition on Nurse's behalf.  At age 71, she was one of the oldest accused.
Her ordeal is often credited as the impetus for a shift in the town's opinion about the purpose of the witch trials.
Her trial began on June 30, 1692. In accordance with the procedures at the time, Mrs. Nurse, like others accused of witchcraft, represented herself since she was not allowed to have a lawyer represent her.
By dint of her respectability, many members of the community testified on her behalf including her family members. However the young Ann Putnam Jr. and the other children would break into fits and claim Nurse was tormenting them.
Such so-called "spectral evidence" was allowed into the trial to show that Satan was afflicting others in the community at the behest of the accused. In response to their outbursts Nurse stated, "I have got nobody to look to but God."Many of the other afflicted girls were hesitant to accuse Nurse.
In the end, the jury ruled Nurse not guilty.
Due to public outcry and renewed fits and spasms by the girls, the jury asked the magistrate that the verdict be reconsidered.
The jury changed their verdict, sentencing Nurse to death on July 19, 1692.
Death and aftermath
Many people labeled Nurse "the woman of self-dignity", due to her dignified behavior on the gallows.
As was the custom, after Rebecca Nurse was hanged, her body was buried in a shallow grave near the gallows along with other convicted witches, who were considered unfit for a Christian burial.
Nurse's family secretly returned after dark and dug up her body, which they interred properly on their family homestead.
In July 1885, her descendants erected a tall granite memorial over her grave in what is now called the Rebecca Nurse Homestead cemetery in Danvers (formerly Salem Village), Massachusetts. The inscription on the monument reads:
Rebecca Nurse, Yarmouth, England 1621. Salem, Mass., 1692.
O Christian Martyr who for Truth could die
When all about thee owned the hideous lie!
The world redeemed from Superstition's sway
Is breathing freer for thy sake today.
(From the poem "Christian Martyr," by John Greenleaf Whittier)
In 1892 a second monument was erected nearby recognizing the 40 neighbors, led by Israel and Elizabeth (Hathorne) Porter, who took the risk of publicly supporting Nurse by signing a petition to the court in 1692. One signer was General Israel Putnam's father.
Her accuser, Ann Putnam, Jr., publicly apologized to the Nurse family for accusing innocent people.
In 1711, the government compensated the Nurse family for Rebecca's wrongful death. The Nurse family homestead fell into the hands of Putnam family descendant Phineas Putnam in 1784.
The Putnam family maintained control of the property until 1908.
Today, it is a tourist attraction that includes the original house and cemetery, on 27 of the original 300 acres.

Mary Towne Eastey (also spelled Esty, Easty, Estey, Eastick, Eastie, or Estye)
(bap. August 24, 1634) Hanged September 22, 1692. 

Mary Towne was convicted of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials of 1692 in colonial Massachusetts. She was executed by hanging in Salem.
Mary Estey was born Mary Towne to William Towne and Joanna Towne (née Blessing) in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England.
Mary Towne married Isaac Estey in 1655 in Topsfield, Massachusetts Bay Colony; Isaac, a farmer, was born in England on November 27, 1627. 

Together the couple had eleven children.
Like her sister Rebecca Nurse, Eastey was a pious and respected member of Salem, and her accusation came as a surprise.
During the examination on April 22, 1692, when Eastey clasped her hands together, Mercy Lewis, one of the afflicted, imitated the gesture and claimed to be unable to release her hands until Eastey released her own. Again, when Eastey inclined her head, the afflicted girls accused her of trying to break their necks. Mercy claimed that Eastey's specter had climbed into her bed and laid her hand upon her breasts. When asked by magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin how far she had complied with Satan, she replied, "Sir, I never complyed but prayed against him all my dayes, I have no complyance with Satan, in this ... I am clear of this sin."
For reasons unknown, Eastey was released from prison on May 18 after two months.
However, on May 20, Mercy Lewis claimed that Eastey's specter was afflicting her, a claim which other girls supported.
 A second warrant was issued that night for Eastey's arrest. She was taken from her bed and returned to the prison; Lewis ceased her fits after Eastey was chained.
Eastey was tried and condemned to death on September 9. Robert Calef described Eastey's parting words to her family "as serious, religious, distinct, and affectionate as could be expressed, drawing tears from the eyes of almost all present."
She was hanged on September 22, along with Martha Corey, Ann Pudeator, Alice Parker, Mary Parker, Wilmot Redd, Margaret Scott, and Samuel Wardwell.
Death and Aftermath
On the gallows she prayed for an end to the witch hunt. Of her two sisters likewise charged with witchcraft, Rebecca Nurse was hanged on July 19, 1692.
In November, after Eastey had been put to death, Mary Herrick gave testimony about Eastey. Herrick testified that she was visited by Eastey who told her she had been put to death wrongfully and was innocent of witchcraft, and that she had come to vindicate her cause.
Eastey's family was compensated with 20 pounds from the government in 1711 for her wrongful execution. Her husband Isaac lived until June 11, 1712.
Mary Eastey's grandson Daniel Eastey fled the country and changed his name during his grandmother's trial, and then moved to Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada.

Sarah Cloyce/Cloyse (née Towne) (bap. 3 September 1648 – 1703) was accused of witchcraft but never indicted by a grand jury in the Salem Witch Trials.
The daughter of William Towne and his wife, née Joanna Blessing, she was the sister of Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty who were executed as witches at Salem in 1692.
Her first husband was Edmund Bridges, Jr. of Topsfield and Salem, who she married in 1659/60. They had at least five children; he died in 1682.
Her second husband was Peter Cloyce; he was the father of six when they married, and they had three additional children together.
She was accused of witchcraft the day after she had defended her sister Rebecca against the same charge.
A few days later she was named in warrants and arrested, and was transferred to Boston prison. She petitioned the court for an opportunity to present evidence which supported her innocence, and to exclude spectral evidence (which is testimony that the spirit of someone did something).
Jail-break or Release?
When all the legal maneuvers failed, with Sarah’s sisters having been hung as witches, Peter did the only intelligent thing as the shadow of the hangman’s rope drew near in the new round of trials of January 1693.  He broke Sarah out of jail and fled south (Thought it’s reported that  Superior Court dismissed the charges against Sarah in January 1693 and Peter simply paid the prison fees and she was released. But tradition and earlier reliable sources tell us otherwise.
"Clayes was imprisoned in Ipswich and smuggled out along with friends who had come to visit her," and thence, according to the History of Framingham,  "conveyed by night to Framingham."
… she somehow escaped from a makeshift ‘jail’ in Ipswich – probably a farmer’s shed – and made her way with her husband towards Danforth’s property," a safe area in what is now Framingham.
Certainly Peter had been petitioning for a recognizance for his wife and it is always possible they simply skipped bail.
Heading Southwest on Foot and the Danforth Difference
However they managed Sarah’s escape, it was deep in a New England winter that they made their way southwest to Framingham, then known as the Danforth Plantation, and marked in old records of the times as "the wilderness."
Ironically the Danforth Plantation where the Cloyes sought asylum was owned by one of the early judges at the Salem Witch Trials. 
Thomas Danforth & Safety
Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth had sat on the early Tribunal.  But he had left the tribunal in May, several months before the hangings began, harboring a secret disgust and ill-ease with the proceedings. 
This was originally known as Danforth Farm or Plantation, and later renamed Framingham. 
Danforth had been on the Tribunal through May, long enough to have observed the character of all three Towne sisters. 
Records show that the three sisters repeatedly behaved with dignity, piety, firmness and good character to such an extent that the magistrates hesitated repeatedly with their cases. 
Rebecca was brought in Not Guilty, only to be re-deliberated until Guilty.  She was reprieved, only to have it denied. 
Petitions were signed on her behalf. 
Mary was cleared only to be re-accused and rearrested. 
The minister of Topsfield vouched for both Mary and Sarah, but to no avail. 
Sarah wrote elegant appeals that were ignored.
Many were rightfully impressed with the Towne sisters and deeply distressed with the proceedings. 
Danforth seems to have been one of those and afterwards made it his business to take in and see to the welfare and reparations of the surviving Towne sister’s families, starting with Sarah (Towne) Cloyes herself. 
Salem End Road, At Last
It was that the Danforth haven become known to those fleeing the accusations and executions, a large boulder on Salem End Road was said to be the official landmark that that signaled escaping families that they were on the Plantation and safe at last. 
Danforth subsequently turned over more than 800 acres to Salem families seeking asylum and safety, including the Towne, Nurse, Bridges, Easty, and Cloyes families. 
The new settlement quickly became known as Salem End Road. 
They came fearing for their lives, seeking a safe haven, and found it on Danforth’s Plantation, living in safety on his land as reparation for their treatment in Salem.  

Much has been written about the trials and Salem at the time. Anything that is not pulled strictly from a town record (witchcraft trial is part of the town record), I owe a great debt to researches who preceded me. 
 Some  of the sources include:
1 Wikipedia - 3 articles on the Towne girls
2 Towne Family Association-professional genealogists
3 Ancestry. com (especially Mass town records)
4 Smithsonian site:

5 Witchcraft Trials in Salem: A Commentary by Douglas Linder

6 Maine, Indian Land Speculation, and the Essex County Witchcraft Outbreak of 1692
By Emerson W. Baker and James Kences, from Maine History, volume 40, number 3, Fall 2001 (pp. 159-189)

7 Witch Caves & Salem End Road-Framingham Massachusetts (** Most of the information on Sarah Towne is from this site**)
by Daniel V. Boudillion
Webpage is an abbreviated version published in the book Weird Massachusetts

Sunday, November 23, 2014

52 Ancestors #46 - The New England Petts Family - Patriots of the American Revolution

This name is of infrequent occurrence in the records of New England. The number of settlers bearing this name was very limited. The name in Townsend [Massachusetts] records is sometimes written as “Patt” or “Patts”, but later the name is uniformly written Petts  - Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire
John Petts 
John Petts, my husband's 7th Great Grandfather. 
John Petts was one of the earliest settlers of Townsend, Massachusetts. 

He was born in1681 and he died December 13, 1762 in Townsend, MA.
It is probable that his wife Abigail was the first female white resident of the town.
It nearly certain that their son Jonathan Petts was the first white settler born there.
Their son:

Jonathan Petts
My husband's 6th Great Grandfather
Jonathan Petts was the son of John and Mary Petts and likely the first white settler infant born in Townsend, MA.  

Jonathan was born on October 15, 1727 in Townsend, Massachusetts, where he was a farmer. 
He died November 23, 1767 in Ashburnham, MA
He married Sarah Hosely  who was born in December 1732. Sarah was the daughter of James Hosely and Exercise (or Eunice) Jewett. Sarah died in 1788.
Their son:

Jonathan (son of Jonathan) Petts

My husband's 5th Great Grandfather
Jonathan Petts (Jr) was born to Jonathan Petts and Sarah Hosley in Townsend, MA.
Jonathan married in Townsend, MA in February 12, 1783 and moved to Stoddard, NH. 

Jonathan’s wife was Rebecca Towne. 
Rebecca Towne was born July 25, 1763 to Colonel Ezra Towne and Elizabeth Dorman of New Ipswich, NH. 
Her father, Ezra Towne, was in the American Revolution as a captain for three years and later a colonel of a regiment.
   ~ Revolutionary War Soldier~
Jonathan (Jr) was a solider in the Revolution. 

He served in the Lexington alarm on April 19, 1779 in Captain James Hosley’s company. 
Jonathan was also in the siege of Boston in 1775 and at Bunker Hill in Captain Henry Farwell’s Company. 
[In the history of the town of Townsend his name is erroneously printed Nathan Patt].
Their son:

David Petts

My husband's 4th Great Grandfather
David Petts was born in Stoddard, NH on February 7, 1788 and lived in Stoddard, Weston, VT and Nelson, NH where he died in February 16, 1867.

  ~ Family~
He married Clarissa Parker who was born in Nelson, NH on July 14, 1793. 

Clarissa was the daughter of Josiah and Eunice Pierce. Clarissa died in Nelson, NH on August 8, 1871.
Three of their children died in infancy. 

The ten children were: David Towne, Lyman Parker, Eunice Pierce, Lousia Malvina, Frederic Augustus, Lawrensa, Clarissa Sabrina, George Shepard, Albert Livingston, and Lucy Orinda.
Their son:

David Towne Petts

My husband's 3rd Great Grandfather
David Towne Petts was the oldest child of David Petts and Clarissa Parker. 

He was born in Weston, Vermont on November 25, 1810 and died on December 3, 1856 at 46 years old.
   ~ Work~
He farmed to some extent in Nelson, VT, where for 10 or 12 or twelve years he was a cattle drover.
He moved to Stoddard NH where he conducted a hotel for 6 years and then moved to Marlow, NH and carried on  a hotel there for about 1 ½ year before his death.

   ~ Family~
David Towne Petts married in Stoddard, NH Phebe (or Phoebe) Stevens who was born in Stoddard, NH on May 3, 1812.
Their children were Ferdinand, Lyman and George, Rosanna or Rosina, and two daughters who were both my husband’s ancestors, Myranda (1843-1917) and Christiana (1845-1871).

Their two daughters, Myranda and Christiana:

Myranda Petts and Christiana Petts and their Spouses--
~Two of My husband's 2nd Great Grandmothers~
* Myranda (1843-1917) and 

 Christiana (1845-1871) Petts married John S Warner and John Levi Cook, respectively.
 * Myranda & husband had Addie Warner,

* Christiana & husband had Don F Cook.

 Addie Warner & Don Ferdinand Cook
Myranda’s daughter was Addie Christiane Warner
Addie married her Aunt Christiana’s son, Don Ferdinand Cook.
Yes, they were first cousins  (see 52 Ancestors # Post 6 - John S Warner M. Miranda Petts: A Story of Sisters, Cousins--and Spouses)
*Addie Warner was my husband's great grandmother, and *Don Ferdinand Cook was my husband's great grandfather. 
Their daughter was:

Marion Lottie Cook

My husband's grandmother
Marion Lottie Cook (1905-1966). Marion married Andrew Antilla. Marion Lottie Cook and Andrew had Ruth I Antilla and her siblings.

Their daughter was:

Ruth Ida Antilla
My husband's mother

  Chart below, the names in blue are direct descendants of the Petts family:

1 Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire
2 Town Records of Massachusetts

Saturday, November 15, 2014

52 Ancestors - #45 John Joseph Lawrence Barnwell and Agnes McCune, First Generation Americans in NYC

John Joseph Lawrence Barnwell & Agnes McCune (father's maternal grandparents)
Immigrants to the New World are usually struggling so to get by that (unless they came from elevated positions), they leave little mark. I been an expatriate 4 times, and despite the financial advantages, I find you struggle to build networks and learn about the country and culture.
When the children of the immigrants came along, they usually had no money and lacked the benefit of having parents who had superior schooling or useful training.
But the immigrant story is common, and is oft repeated. And so, though I know very little about the Barnwells & McCunes, it's still important to put down what is known. My father wrote a bit about his mother's parents, first generation Americans, and I will place that at the end of the post. Now for the facts:
John Joseph Lawrence Barnwell & Agnes McCune
My great grandfather (my father's mother's father) John Joseph Lawrence Barnwell. He often goes by his initials.
The little information I have is gleaned is from his two draft cards and the census records. I'll call him "JJL Barnwell" here for short.
~His Parents and his Siblings~
Lawrence Barnwell Born 1856 in Ireland. Died 1892 in NYC
Mary [---]-Born 1861 in Ireland. Died [unkwn] NYC
Both his parents were from Ireland & both immigrants.
What county in Ireland and when they migrated is not known. Nor do I know if they were married before they immigrated. Also unknown is his mother's maiden name.
His Siblings:
I have recorded only a Mary and an  Alice Barnwell.

Lawrence & Mary, born in Ireland, JJL and sisters Mary & Alice b. USA  in a 1892 census.
The port of entry for his parents was likely New York (not Boston).
It is quite likely they had traveled with family members (as many people did).
I speculate Lawrence Barnwell may have traveled here with,or to join a brother in Connecticut (more on that later in the post).
~Unrelated to the Southern Barnwells~
      I'm 99.9% sure that his Barnwell family is unrelated to the large Barnwell family that migrated to the Georgia & the Carolinas when the country was still being settled.
My slight uncertainty exists because it is always possible that this family migrated to the "colonies" and then also returned to the British Isles. Some people did do this.
But there is no evidence to link this Barnwell family of New York to ones in the Georgia & the Carolinas.
~John Joseph Lawrence Barnwell~
JJL Barnwell, a true New Yorker, never lived far from the place of his birth. Here are the facts:
Birth: December 16, 1881 Brooklyn, NY
Death: Oct 1948 Long Island City, Queens, New York, NY
JJLB was born in Brooklyn, and lived in New York City his entire life (with a few brief exceptions), and died right across the bridge in Long Island City, Queens, NY.
 ~A Bit Of Staten Island~
In a 1915 census, they were living in Staten Island, where JJLB was working as  a driver.

Staten Island 1915 Census Barnwell family
~Is there a CT Relative?~
My grandmother, of post #25 (Catherine Barnwell, his daughter) also remembered staying in the "country" (i.e. not NYC) for a while when she was young. There was at least one photo allegedly taken in Connecticut.   I'm not sure where those photo(s) would be now (sitting in the house on Budd Hill where my uncle had it?).
I found a William Barnwell & family in 1870 census in Statford CT.
 Might he be JJL Barnwell's relative? from the age, he could be a brother.   
It looks promising because William Barnwell was born in Ireland and was working as a day laborer.
Based on my father's and grandmother's recollections, this may be a relative, or it just might be a distraction!

Barnwells of CT 1870 census -possible relations?
~World War 1~
World War 1 came and the US joined late in the war. JJL Barnwell registered with the draft. When he registered they were living at 2758 8th Ave, New York, New York; he and Agnes had five children (living) and a sixth was on the way.
 JJLB was working at American Railway Express and gave the address as  49th St and Lexington Avenue, NY, NY.  He was a driver.
By the 1920 census the Barnwell family was still living at the same address in Harlem (below is a map & satellite image).

Red dot shows Barnwells lived. Hudson on left of screen, Harlem River on right.

Satellite view of same map.
In 1920 my grandmother (Catherine) was 9 years old and her siblings were (in order):
Alice (1905)
Lawrence Joseph (1909)
Catherine (1911)
Richard (1914)
Regina (1916)
& Thomas (1918)
Still to be born was:
Gerard (1921)
Lucille (1924)
Josephine (1925–1930)
Vincent (1926).
All those long names were shortened/made diminutive: Larry, Kitty [Catherine], Dick, Vinny.
 ~1928 on~
I figured in that my grandmother Kitty (Catherine) married my grandfather about 1928. Yep, she was young.
The Barnwells moved out to Long Island City Queens, and the younger children appear in the 1930 census living there but by then older married children (such as my grandmother) were no longer living at home.
~Their Children~
1 Alice  1905 – ?
2 Lawrence Joseph 1909 – 1991
3 Catherine F 1911–1992 M my grandfather
4 Richard  1914 – 1981
5 Regina  1916 – 1980
6 Thomas 1918 –1976
7 Gerard 1921 – 1985
8 Lucille J  1924 – 2000
9 Josephine  1925 – 1930
10 Vincent  1926 – 1990

~ JJL Barnwell Residences and his age ~

~Birth –Dec 1881 Age: 0   Brooklyn, Kings, NY
~Residence-1892 Age: 10  Brooklyn, Kings, NY
~Residence-1910 Age: 28  Mhtn. Ward 22, NY, NY
~Residence-1915 Age: 33  Staten Island, NY
~Residence-1920 Age: 38 Mhtn. Assm Dist 22, NY
~Residence-1920 Age: 38 2758 8th Ave, NY, NY
~Residence-1925 Age: 43 NY, NY
~Residence-1930 Age: 48 Queens, NY
~Residence-1940 Age: 58 Queens, NY
~Residence-1942 Age:60 L.I.City, Queens, NY
~Death - 1948 Oct Age: 66 Queens, NY
~John Joseph Lawrence Barnwell's Appearance~
I have no photos of him. But as John Joseph Lawrence Barnwell registered for the draft for both World Wars, I have a description of his general appearance from them. He says his skin tone is sallow--which in American English is yellowish and can indicate illness.
However in Ireland (though born in the US, his parents were Irish) sallow skin means your skin is on the tan side.

Several of his sons had this kind of "sallow" or swarthy skin:
JJL and Agnes Barnwell's boys
And, John Joseph Lawrence Barnwell had blue eyes and black hair. (My grandmother had fair skin, however.)
He was also only 5 feet, 2 inches tall, and slender.
Several years later, by World War 2, he had experienced a job injury, was 60 years old and (of course) had grey hair.
Additional information to aid in identifying him was:
"Stiff knee from operation and wears glasses" (not sure how helpful that would be in time of war).
The person who he gave as "always knowing your address" was his son-in-law, the husband of his eldest child Alice:
 "Patrick McGee, 27-56 27th Street, Long Island City Queens"

~What about "The Mrs.?"~Agnes McCune~
His wife Agnes' maiden name, as far as I can surmise was  McCune,  or McKeon (it is pronounced the same). I believe she was born in about 1885 in New York City.
Her father was born in Scotland and her mother was born in Ireland.I pulled that fact from Agnes' 1920 US Census. By then she was already a wife and mother but her parents' native land is asked for in the census:

Yellow highlight-Agnes McCune's info. Father/Scotland, mother/Ireland

~My father tells about the Barnwells (his grandparents)~
I'll let my father's give his memories of the McCunes & the Barnwells:

My mother’s parents, my Barnwell grandparents,[Agnes McCune Barnewell & JJL Barnwell] had 16 or 17 births. It was the Catholic practice at that time, perhaps still is, to name and baptize still-born babies. [To this day it depends on the state]. Those names are not found in official stats, but might be found in parish records.
They weren't particularly Irish.  John (Jack) was born in Brooklyn and was a teamster. Jack worked for the RR Express  as a delivery man. He was a small man, 5' 2", 125 lbs.
About 1922 he fell while carrying a big trunk up a flight of stairs.  The fall damaged his right knee and between the state of medicine and his lack of medical coverage, he didn't work again until WWII.    He then became a elevator operator, called "an indoor aviator." RR Express put him on unpaid leave for all those years.
I know even less about my grandmother [Agnes McCune]. She had a 6'6" Scotsman, a McCune grandfather who was a Presbyterian born in Edinburgh, but whose family originated in the Highlands.
He had married a small Catholic woman, so the children were raised Catholic.  Supposedly  on his death his wife begged him to convert  but he refused, saying God would judge him on his merits, not his creed. I think that's were the McCune name came from. I don't know when they emigrated.
She, Agnes McCune [Barnwell], supported the family by working as charwoman and a building superintendent, while "old Mrs. Duffy" took care of the kids. Who Mrs Duffy was, I have no idea. As building “super” if someone littered the place, like throwing trash into an air shaft, Agnes McCune [Barnwell] would hunt through it until she found an envelope or something, and then raise hell with the tenant.
Apparently, Agnes had temper I never saw; by repute she used to throw pots and pans. I have only the memory of her spitting at the TV when watching professional wrestling in her old age. I remember sitting by her on a little stool and joining in rub, rubbing my upper gum with snuff, as she did. {Ah, my dissolute youth!}
JJL Barnwell & Agnes McCune & family

Saturday, November 8, 2014

53 Ancestors #44 -Chester Tyson, Advisor to Hoover in the Great War (WW1) and the Aftermath to Feed the Starving

[This post is dedicated to Margaret "Mardy" B Tilton (Walmer), who did a great deal of research and documented it.]
What do you do when you find this? Start digging.
Certificate to Chester Tyson signed by Herbert Hoover and Howard Heinz

This certificate grabbed me. My great-grandfather, Chester J Tyson, was the recipient of it. So what is the story? It is about more than him, his family and community. (Chester's life is touched on in Post 1#. His timeline is in Post #36.)
Chester J Tyson as a young man
More Leads
A saved clipping shed light on the certificate: "National Advisory Committee" and dinner with Hoover once Hoover was President.

Now I'm interested
Chester has a photograph of himself in that group, who had dinner at the White House, 
with four Presidents: Taft, Coolidge, Wilson, and Hoover.

At White House with 4 Presidents, Taft, Wilson, Hoover, and Coolidge.  Also, HJ Heinz of Heinz brands (friend of CJT). Chester Tyson on right
Chester J Tyson, circled
What did he do that he should be invited to a White House?  
It turns out that for many years, Chester J Tyson served as an advisor to Hoover (before he was president). 

For many years, from WW1 to into the 1920's, the US sent food to European nations, and Hoover oversaw this. 

This is called "aid"--something I know a bit about as my husband's been involved in aid to foreign countries for decades.

Chester Tyson
Yes, Chester Tyson (though a Quaker) registered for the draft:
Chester Tyson's business card & World War 1 Draft Reg

Food Relief and the US - World War I
The U.S. Food Administration (USFA) was headed by Herbert Hoover (future President). 
Hoover was to get food to war-torn countries in Europe (he also headed food conservation efforts in the US).

The USFA began sending food to N. Europe, especially  Belgium and France, feeding  7 million people.

Prior to entering the war, the US was officially neutral, and shortly began sending food to Germans.

From there it rapidly expanded, broadening the relief effort to many countries in Europe.

Chester J Tyson's Role
Hoover asked Chester to serve as an expert during WWI on the US Food Administration's Agriculture Advisory Board.
USFA & Belgian Relief Fund, the first project
Tyson & Phillips- use of  agricultural products WW1

USFA poster here in the US for relief
Why it was called The Great War
~WWI was fought in more countries than you probably knew existed.  WWI changed nations' boundaries and their economic & political structures for decades to come. 

~ In Russia the Bolshevik Revolution was going on/just occurred.

~I looked at Wikipedia and was amazed at the list of battles in countries that I had not have known were engaged in World War 1.

The Expanded War & Need for Food
The reach and distribution of food relief was greatly expanded beyond France & Belgium and Germany, adding countries suffering conflict and distress. 

As an example, Romania was fighting for its life. And yes, the USFA sent food to Romania. 
Here is a poster rallying Romanians to join the Romanian forces:

"Romanian Brothers" - solicits help for the war

End of War Nov 11, 1918
The end of war didn't bring an end to hunger and the need for food.  
People in all parts of Europe were suffering. 
The relief effort continued and its name was
changed to: 

American Relief Administration or ARA
After World War I the ARA gave food relief to Europe with  Hoover serving as program director.

In 1919 the US Congress provided ARA a budget of $100 million. Private donations made up another $100 million.

Chester's Role  on the ARA
Chester J Tyson served on the Advisory  Committee of  Agriculture and Livestock Producers

23 Countries Served
In the immediate aftermath of the war, the ARA delivered more than four million tons of relief supplies to 23 war-torn European countries. Including Romania.

ARA ended its operations outside Russia in 1922; in Russia it operated till 1923.

Chester's Jobs 
In addition to the manage Tyson Brothers farm products, he also advised Penn State (State College) on horticulture.

USFA and ARA work
Chester also worked hard as an expert advisor to Hoover's relief efforts
Below is a sampling of a few saved telegrams from Chester to Hoover and from Hoover to Chester.

Chester at work in his office


Minutes p 2
ARA's efforts at home and abroad:
At home, the ARA worked to rally support to conserve food so supplies could be shipped to Europe:

What good is Aid to foreign countries? 
Aid is cheaper than war (less that 1% of the US budget even now). 
It's good diplomacy and it builds a baseline of trust before diplomats negotiate.
What was Hoover's motivation? 

A book portion here, in Hoover's words:
Hoover's vision. Why Relief?

200 Million People a Day 1914-1921
Between the years of 1914-1921 Hoover was behind the feeding for more than 200 million people daily.

ARA ended its operations (except for Russia) in 1922; in Russia it operated till 1923.

ARA map of European ports of entry of post-war food relief.

1926 Chester and Bertha

Charles Tilton, Elizabeth Tyson [Tilton], Bertha and Chester abt 1926

My grandmother's father, Chester Julian Tyson, was a great worker and a friend to many in his sphere of influence.
This post can is just a snapshot of one of the many tasks he undertook willingly.

1 Chester J. Tyson - family archives

2 Research of Margaret Tilton (Walmer), who received information from the Hoover Pres Library and Hoover Institution in the 1990s.
2 BBC News website - 2005 article (see below)
3 PBS The Great Famine ARA  & Related reading
PBS video “The Great Famine” about feeding Russians after the Bolshevik Revolution:
4 The Great Humanitarian-Cornell College
5 The Life of Herbert Hoover: Imperfect Visionary 1919-1928 by Kendrick A Clements
6 Wikipedia

Further reading on the Great Relief Effort, a 2005 BBC story below:

-------More information:-------
A BBC story (in part, link entire Story)

… almost routinely given to it as the "world's largest relief operation ever"

The huge American undertakings that fed millions of people during and after the World War I rescued not sections of populations but whole peoples. Today they have been largely forgotten.

Yet 10 million people relied on food shipped in during the German occupation of Belgium and Northern France between 1914 and 1918. Tens of millions more were kept alive right across continental Europe after the war.

These operations saw nearly 11m metric tons of supplies delivered at a cost of nearly $3bn -- and that is the dollar amount from the time. The US government ended up paying for most of it, though Britain and others did contribute.

In 1921 there was another massive operation to help a further 10 million starving in the Soviet Union. Even so, an estimated one million people died in that famine.

The common factor in all these operations was a man who later became an American president reviled for not doing enough during the great depression - Herbert Hoover.

Between 1914 and 1922, he certainly did something. He got money from governments and charity, sailed his own fleet which flew his flags, took over railways, set up a telegraph network, issued his own passports, made treaties with governments, negotiated safe passages through war zones on land and sea and saved countless lives.

It was not a charity he ran. It was an industry. It was almost a state.

Herbert Hoover was a successful mining engineer and businessman in London when war broke out in August 1914.  [He] lead a relief effort when it became apparent that Germany, under a naval blockade by Britain, was not able or willing to feed the people under its occupation in Belgium and North East France.

Hoover set up the Commission for Relief in Belgium, and, as a neutral American, negotiated with the British and the Germans. The British were suspicious and Hoover was even accused by the Admiralty of being a spy. He used the same argument with both sides - the United States would look more favourably on them if they helped civilians. They did so.

….The operation continued even when the United States entered the war in 1917.  It all cost money of course - more than $800m, much of which came from the United States. Belgium and France took out loans to pay for some of it but these loans were abandoned in the Depression of the 1930s.

A history of the operation concluded: "It may be pointed out that a large portion of the 10m people in the occupied regions might have perished."

With America in the war, Hoover was sent to organise food production and distribution at home. So successful was he in getting people to economise that the word "Hooverise" took its place for a time. His efforts meant that there was enough food to spare to send to Britain and France.

Then came peace. He now had to feed millions in the defeated countries as well, including Germany. Through the American Relief Administration (Ara), he organised the distribution of nearly 6m tons to almost every country in Europe.

By Paul Reynolds


World Affairs correspondent, BBC News website

Tuesday, 11 January, 2005, 12:25 GMT