Saturday, September 24, 2016

Surname Saturday ~ PIERCE of Charlestown and Woburn, Massachusetts


Thomas Pierce (1583 – 1666), my 11th great grandfather, is of unknown origin.  He was made a freeman on 6 May 1635 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and he received a land grant of 4 acres at Charlestown in 1636.  By 1638 he owned 10 lots totaling 97 acres.  He married Elizabeth Unknown , who was admitted to the church at Charlestown on 10 January 1644/5, and Thomas was admitted on February 21st.

In 1643 Thomas Pierce moved his family to Woburn, where he was made a proprietor in 1643.  He made his will in Cambridge in 1665, at the home of Thomas Danforth, the treasurer of Harvard College.  There was a provision for the college, as well as for his wife and children in his will.

Thomas Pierce's Will
Cambridge in New England, Novemb. 7th, 1665

I, Thomas Pierce of Charlestown, aged about 82 years, being throw the goodness of ye Lord of sound judgment & memory, and in some measure of bodily health, do ordaine & hereby declare my last Will and testament, in manner and form following; viz: my soul, which I believe is imortall, I do desire humbley and believeingly to resign it unto the father of spirits, who gave it to mee, and to remit borth body and soul into the everlasting mercyes of God, the father, Sonne, and Holy Ghost. My body I desire it may be decently interred, at the discretion of my loving wife whom I do ordaine and make sole Executrix of this my Will. And for my outward Estate wherewith the Lord hath gratiously blessed me, I do dispose thereof as follows, viz. to Harvard College twenty shillings to be payed within one year after my decease. To Mary Bridge, and Elizabeth Jeffs, two of my grand-children now dwelling with mee I do give ten pounds apiece, to be paid by my Executrix as soon as she can with convenience, but not to be compellable thereto for and during to years after my decease. The residue of my estate, my just debts and funerall expenses being first payed, I do give and bequeath unto my loving wife Elizabeth, to have and to hold the same during her life, and at her pleasure to be helpful to any of my children as shee shall see meet in her discretion, by giveing or lending to them any part thereof: And before he deceased I do give her power to make her will, and by the same to bequeath nay part thereof by gift or legacy as shee shall see meet, and after her decease such part thereof as sahll beby her unexpended, and not disposed of by her before her decease, I do will and bequeath ye same in manner following - viz: To all my grandchildren I do give ten groates apeece, and the remainder to be equally divided among my children. My will is that the younger shall have eaquell with the eldest, I have formerly done for them according to my ability. Finally I do nominate my loving friends, Mr. Ri: Russel * Mr. Thomas Danforth*, and my sonne Jno. Pierce overseers of this my will; by whose advise and consent of them or the more part of them I do give my Executrix full power to settle all my lands on such of my sonnes, as shall approve themselves in the feare of God, and duty to their aged mother, and on such conditions as they shall meet also I do nominate Lift. Randall Nicholls (this name is in place if one erased, I think Lowden) to be added to my overseers above named, provided always it is my declared will yt my Executrix shall not alienable or dispose of any of my lands so as to deprive all my sonnes of the same, but I do giver her power by the advice of my overseers as above is expressed to dispose of the whole to any one of my sonnes according to her discretion, but not to divide the same into parcels. In witness whereof I do hereunto sett my hand and seal the day and year first written.

Thomas Pierce is the ancestor of two US Presidents.  He is the ancestor of Barbara Pierce Bush, wife of President George H. Bush and mother of President George H. W. Bush.  He is also the ancestor of President Franklin Pierce.

My PIERCE genealogy:

Generation 1:  Thomas Pierce, born about 1583 in England, died 7 October 1666 in Charlestown, Massachusetts; married Elizabeth Unknown.  She was born about 1595 and died after 22 March 1667 in Woburn, Massachusetts.  Eight children.

Generation 2: Thomas Pierce, Jr., born about 1620 in England, died 6 November 1683 in Woburn; married on 6 May 1635 in Charlestown to Elizabeth Cole, daughter of Rice Cole and Arrald Unknown.  She was born about 1619 and died 5 March 1688 in Woburn. Thirteen children.

Generation 3:  John Pierce, born 7 May 1643 in Woburn, died 25 May 1720 in Woburn; married on 1 July 1663 in Woburn to Deborah Convers, daughter of James Converse and Anna Long.  She was born 25 July 1647 in Woburn.  Ten children.

Generation 4: Ebenezer Pierce, born 1687 and died before 16 May 1766 in Wilmington, Massachusetts.  He married Mary Wilson, daughter of Samuel Wilson and Elizabeth Pierce (no relation).  She was born 10 April 1685 in Woburn, and died 17 January 1747 in Woburn.  Nine children.

Generation 5:  Deborah Pierce, born 4 November 1709 in Woburn, died 1739; married on 11 March 1730 in Woburn to Increase Wyman, son of Nathaniel Wyman and Mary Winn.  He was born 1 March 1707 in Woburn and died 5 September 1739 in Woburn.  Five children.

Generation 6: Increase Wyman, born 4 June 1732 in Burlington, Massachusetts, died before 1776; married to Catherine Unknown.  She died 19 January 1783. Ten children.

Generation 7: Jemima Wyman m. Joshua Burnham
Generation 8: Jemima Burnham m. Romanus Emerson
Generation 9: George Emerson m. Mary Esther Younger
Generation 10:. Mary Katherine Emerson m. George E. Batchelder
Generation 11: Carrie Maude Batchelder m. Joseph Elmer Allen
Generation 12: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, " Surname Saturday ~ PIERCE of Charlestown and Woburn, Massachusetts”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 24, 2016 ( accessed [access date]). 

Friday, September 23, 2016

First Day of School, circa 1940

This photograph was taken at 10 Roosevelt Avenue,  Hamilton, Massachusetts

My mother thinks this might be a photo of her first day of school.  In this photo she is posing on the front steps with her two brothers, Buddy and Donnie.  There were seven siblings in the Allen family, and only two were girls.   The youngest son, Dickie, wasn't born until 1942.  Mom's Allen family lived in Hamilton, Massachusetts and the children went to the Lamson School.  This school closed in 1952 when the Manasseh Cutler school was built. The Lamson School became the town library, and then was demolished in 1961.  The land is now an elderly housing complex.  After my grandmother (the mother of the children in the photo) was widowed in 1982, she sold this house in the photo and moved into the elderly housing apartment complex.   

My Mom likes to joke that every school she ever attended is gone.  Her elementary school was razed and her high school is gone. After high school Mom attended the Beverly Hospital school of nursing, which is also gone. 


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "First Day of School, circa 1940", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 23, 2016, ( accessed [access date]).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts

My cousin recently sent me a large box of documents and photos that had belonged to my grandparents.  Among the photos were many of 7 Dearborn Avenue in Beverly, Massachusetts.  Four generations of our family lived here, including me!

7 Dearborn Avenue
(nice photo of the street)

September 1962
You can see my Dad on the sidewalk
with his rolling golf bag

September 1962
That's me in the stroller!

This one was labeled on the back
"Heather Christmas 1962"

This one was labeled on the back, but undated
"Susan and Bertha"
Susan is my first cousin,
Bertha is our grandmother

This Purchase and Sale agreement is between my grandparents and my parents, dated 20 September 1962 (around the same time as the top three photographs were taken).  They sold the house to my Dad for $13,500, and then retired to Long Beach, California.  Inside this paperwork was a description of the sale to my grandmother from her parents dated 4 October 1930.  

My grandparents were married in this house on Thanksgiving Day, 26 November 1925.  I have no photographs of their wedding, but my grandmother described the day "I married Don and his people were very nice to us.  And when we got married we just had a quiet family wedding.  I still kept on working for a while.  And of course we were married on a Thanksgiving Day 1926.  I think the date was November 25th, 1926.  I remember that day was quite hectic but we had the family, and an Episcopalian minister married us.  We went to Boston for just a couple of days.  My sister stayed with my mother and then I kept on working.  Oh, when we went away for our honeymoon Don's sister tried to pull away his suitcase for him.  And he kept hanging on to it and he got a black eye from the door banging into his eye.  So he had a black eye on our honeymoon and people joked about that but he really didn't feel a bit good. And Don's cousin gave us tickets to see "The Student Prince" and then we went to the "Miracle" while we were in Boston."  [from a tape recorded conversation with Bertha Wilkinson made by my uncle, Richard Wilkinson, sometime in the 1970s]. 

I hereby certify that on the
twenty sixth day of
November 1925
I joined together in Holy wedlock
Donald M. Wilkinson
Bertha Louise Roberts
in Beverly, Massachusetts
according the laws of the State of Massachusetts
                            Signed by me
             Eugene J. V. Theiqueau
          Rector, St. Peter's Church
Ellen Thornton Roberts      [John's neice, daughter of Harry Roberts]     
William John Blades   [future brother-in-law (married Janet Wilkinson, 
               Donald's sister]                                

My grandmother's parents, John Peter Bowden Roberts and Emma Warren, emigrated from England with two of their children in 1915. Their daughter, my great aunt Hilda, had married and was living in Beverly, along with one of John's brothers, Harry Roberts.   They first lived in a boarding house at 60 Colon Street (around the corner).  By the 1920 census, John and Emma were living in the house on 7 Dearborn Avenue in Beverly, and were listed as the homeowners. 

Generation 1: John Peter Bawden Roberts, son of Samuel Roberts and Mary Anne Stott, born August 1865 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, died 23 August 1925 at 7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts; married on 24 May 1890 at St. Clement's church, Sheepscar, Leeds to Emma Frances Warren, daughter of Obed Thomas Warren and Betsey Hannah Stimson.  She was born about 1865 in Peterborough, England and died 1927 in Lynn, Massachusetts.  Four children.  My great grandparents.

Generation 2:  Bertha Louise Roberts, born 30 September 1897 in Leeds, died 17 March 1990 in Long Beach, California; married on 26 November 1926 at 7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts to Donald Munroe Wilkinson, son of Albert Munroe Wilkinson and Isabella Lyons Bill.  He was born 23 October 1895 in Salem, Massachusetts, and died 24 July 1977 in Long Beach.  Three sons.  My grandparents.

Generation 3:  John Warren Wilkinson, born 3 January 1934 in Beverly, died 7 August 2002 in Worcester, Massachusetts- my father.

Generation 4:  Me!  I lived at 7 Dearborn Avenue from 1962 until 1969.  We removed to Holden, Massachusetts.

My Dad (the baby) and his two brothers, 1934,
in front of 7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts

For the truly curious:

Who was living at 7 Dearborn Avenue for the 1940 census?

Easter 1965 at 7 Dearborn Avenue:

Four sets of twins on Dearborn Avenue in the 1940s  

7 Dearborn Avenue, 2016
photo by my cousin Susan Wilkinson Parker,
pictured above in the undated photo 


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 22, 2016, ( accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Seen in a Valley!

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

Today's weather vane was photographed in New Hampshire.

Do you know the location of weathervane post #277?  Scroll down to find the answer.

Last week I posted a photo of the weathervane on the steeple of the Bedford Presbyterian Church, which is on a hill above the historic district of Bedford, New Hampshire.  I pulled into the back parking lot and saw this house below the church.  On the cupola was a beautiful eagle weathervane.  This large, three dimensional eagle looks like it is just landing on the big ball above the cardinal points. Or is it just flying off? Either way, the eagle was a great choice for this beautiful valley view.

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


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ Seen in a Valley!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 21, 2016,  ( accessed [access date]).

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Benoni Perham, died 1774, Chelmsford, Massachusetts

This tombstone was photographed at the Forefather's Burial Ground in Chelmsford, Massachusetts

Here lies ye Body
of Lt. Benony
Perham Son of
Mr. Samuel & Mrs
Sarah Perham
who departed
this Life Feb. 10th 1774
Aged 25 Years 10 M
                and 27 days

This tombstone caught my eye because of the very three dimensional winged head peeking out from the tombstone. All the other winged heads in this cemetery were flat.

The ancestry of Lt. Benoni Perham:

Generation 1:  John Perham, immigrant from Coventry(?), England to Rehoboth, Massachusetts about 1640.

Generation 2:  John Perham, born 1633; married Lydia Shipley on 15 December 1664 and removed to Chelmsford about 1666.

Generation 3:  Benoni Perham, born 1676 and died about 1723; married Sarah Robbins.  He was one of the "Snow Shoe Men" of Dunstable who marched north with Captain William Tyng in the of winter 1703/4 during Queen Anne's War.

Generation 4: Samuel Perham, born 4 March 1715; married Sarah Richardson on 11 April 1741

Generation 5:  Lt. Benoni Perham, born about 1748, died 10 February 1774, unmarried.  Buried in Chelmsford.

[ from The History of Chelmsford, Massachusetts by Wilson Waters, 1917,  page 809]


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ Benoni Perham, died 1774, Chelmsford, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 20, 2016 ( accessed [access date]).

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Surname Saturday ~ WILSON of Woburn, Massachusetts


John Wilson (about 1626 – 1687), my 10th great grandfather is not my only WILSON ancestor.  I am also a descendant of Robert Wilson (about 1630 – 1675) of Salem Village.  Both these immigrant WILSONS were studied by genealogist Ken Stevens, who did surname studies of all the WILSON families in New England.  If you have a WILSON from New England you can search his book The New England Wilson Index, 1995 for more information. [call number CS71. W75 1995 at the NEHGS library]  His manuscripts and papers are also at NEHGS under the call number Mss 678.  The books on the Wilsons from New England: A Genealogical Record of Some Descendants From Our Colonial Ancestors are under the call numbers CS71 .W75 1988 v.1, v.2, v.3 on the 7th floor of the NEHGS library.

John Wilson’s origins are unknown.  He first settled in Salem, Massachusetts with his wife, Hannah, some time before they bought 2 acres of land on 2 March 1652/3.   They sold this land in 1657, and the first record of them in Woburn was December 1658 when their son Samuel was born.  Samuel Wilson (1658 – 1729) is my 9th great grandfather.  The Proprietors records record John was granted four acres of land in 1661, near the Billerica border today.   Samuel inherited the homestead and provided for his aged mother, and his siblings all removed to other towns in Massachusetts and Connecticut.   Samuel and two of his siblings all married PIERCE children of Robert Pierce of Woburn.

John and Hannah were Anabaptists.  In 1677 they were fined for not attending regular meetings - the Puritan religious services (Middlesex Court Records).  Their son, Samuel, my 9th great grandfather, was listed as an Anabaptist, too. 

John Wilson’s will is not recorded.  The Suffolk County Probate recorded an administrator’s bond and an estate inventory by the administrix, Hannah, and sons John, Jr. and Francis.  Hannah remarried to Thomas Fuller.

My WILSON genealogy:

Generation 1: John Wilson, born about 1626 in England, died 2 July 1687 in Woburn; married about 1650 in England to Hannah James.  She was born about 1628 in England and died after 1697. Twelve children.

Generation 2: Samuel Wilson, born 29 December 1658 in Woburn, died 21 November 1729 in Woburn; married on 24 February 1682 in Woburn to Elizabeth Pierce, daughter of Robert Pierce and Mary Knight.  She was born 6 March 1659 in Woburn, and died 22 December 1690 in Woburn. Three children.

Generation 3:  Mary Wilson,  born 10 April 1685 in Woburn, died 17 January 1747 in Woburn; married Ebenezer Pierce (not a cousin), son of John Pierce and Deborah Converse.  He died before 16 May 1766 in Wilmington, Massachusetts.

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


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Surname Saturday ~ WILSON of Woburn, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 17, 2016,  ( accessed [access date]).

Friday, September 16, 2016

Mom as a baby!

My mom was born at the height of the Depression, one of two girls and seven siblings.  She grew up at 10 Roosevelt Avenue in Hamilton, Massachusetts.  These photos show her in the yard of that house as a toddler. I don't have many photos of Mom as a little girl or baby.

Mom and her brother Donny

These were found ina tiny photo album my grandmother had in her nursing home. The photos are all labeled with names so Nana could remember family members.  She was suffering from dementia.

The photo on the left is labeled "Phyllis and Barb".  Barb is Mom's only sister, and she had five brothers. 

It looks like all three of the above photos were taken at the same time.

This photo is faded, but adorable.
Mom is playing in the yard in a bathing suit.
She looks nearly the same age as the photos above.


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Mom as a baby!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 16, 2016,  ( accessed [access date]).

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A New Hampshire Yankee in Spain (and I brought the whole family this time)

Heading out for an adventure on the plane!
Earlier this summer the whole family, including not-quite-one-year old granddaughter went to Spain to visit the relatives.  This was inspired by looking at photos and videos of my daughter's first trip to Spain when she was only six months old.  It's not easy traveling with a toddler, but we had four generations of helpers all along the way.  It is well worth the trip, even though the baby will not remember any of it.  In the photos of my daughter's trip to Spain in the 1980s we had pictures of her being dandled on the knees of great grandparents and lots of tios and primos (translation:  uncles and cousins) who have since passed away.  Those photos are precious memories to everyone.  We were able to recreate this with a new generation this year!

After a day of rest from the time and climate change, we went to a dinner at a cousins house and met a lots of relatives.  Of course the baby was the center of attention!  The woman on the left is Vincent's mother, and her first cousin is the gentleman on the right.  They grew up together in far flung corners of Spain when their fathers (two brothers) were in the military during the Spanish Civil War.  Their mothers were two sisters, so they are really double first cousins.

We had time to explore Madrid, and in the summer the city is empty and everyone is on vacation at the shore or in the mountains.  Usually the Plaza Major is full of tourists and locals, but on this day we had it all to ourselves.  The baby, of course, was more fascinated with the cobblestones than the statue of King Felipe III.  

And we visited the Madrid zoo with baby, even though it is a very hot place for a bunch of New England Yankees in the heat of summer.  Visiting the Madrid zoo is tradition, too.  Here is are the professional photos taken at the entrance of the Madrid Zoo by the staff photographers over the years. We have similar photos of my first trip to the zoo, and even Vincent as a little boy at the Madrid Zoo.

Madrid Zoo 1976
Vincent and his parents
Madrid Zoo 1989
We are with a cousin, my daughter in the stroller
Madrid Zoo 2016
The whole family, three generations

Another dinner with Spanish cousins, at a pub in Madrid

This is the Roman catholic church, St. Nicolas de Bari in the village of Sinovas, built about 1200 AD where Vincent's father was baptized (yes, this church is well over eight hundred years old!).  It is a former synagogue, and the village name Sinovas means "place of the synagogue".  In the churchyard are the tombstones of generations of Rojo family members. As far back as I have researched in church records (back to the 1600s) members of Vincent's family were baptized, married and buried here.  We toured the village with one of Vincent's first cousins, who showed us his grandfather's land and wine cellars. The house where Vincent's father was born is still standing near the plaza. 

Down to the wine cellars under the streets of the village of Aranda de Duero.

And dinner with some Rojo cousins

Our course we had to taste the wine in the wine cellars, too! 

During afternoons, when the grownups were taking siestas, baby preferred waving to passers-by from the balcony of Vincent's mother's house.  If she has any memories of this trip, I wonder what she will remember?  Cobblestones? Balconies? Tasting the tapas in the pubs (she loved the cheese, the paella, the tortillas, flan, the goat and fish)? Will she remember kissing lots of cousins? 

What does my daughter remember about going to Spain when she was little?  Playing with cousins, exploring castles and monuments, eating weird food, learning songs and finger plays in Spanish, learning a second language very early, connecting with the culture, and more!  Yes, she does remember. And when I talk about the villages and ancestors she can now say that she knows that church or that family. 

I remember traveling with my daughter when she was a baby, and as a small child, as well as this trip with a grandbaby.  As well as the usual tourist memories we also have memories of how welcoming the Spanish people are to children. In restaurants the staff usually goes out the way to accommodate children, and to entertain them so Mum and Dad can eat.  Strangers will bless the child, and strike up conversations.  Other parents on the street will compare strollers, baby shoes, shopping tips, and where to buy diapers and supplies.  Older relatives will not only dandle baby on their knees and pose for photos, but the baby will bring out lots of stories about other babies in the family, as well as lots of family history so be prepared to write it all down! 

We didn't do any genealogy research in archives during this trip. But I wrote down lots of family stories, saw a lot of great family sites and met up with cousins we had never met before, and reconnected with lots of cousins we know very well.  My daughter and granddaughter walked the streets of their ancestors.  We have lots of photos to show baby when she is older. Someday we will be looking at those photos and reminiscing about all the older generations of people in those pictures who have since passed away. 



Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "A New Hampshire Yankee in Spain (and I brought the whole family this time)", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 15, 2016,  ( accessed [access date]).