Josie Newell Smith b 24 November 1877


Josie Newell Smith was born 24 November, 1877, in Ipswich, MA, the daughter of George W Smith, and Josephine P Felton.  The middle name of Newell comes from her father’s mother, Harriet Newell. 

The town of Ipswich is one of the oldest in the United States.  Originally called Agawam, it was colonized in 1633 (only 13 years after the arrival of the Mayflower) and re-named for the town in England from which most settlers originated. Josie’s ancestors, particularly the Smiths and the Lords, trace their history to the mid 1600’s.  Early settlers were farmers, fishermen, and ship builders.  Because of the availability of water power,the town later became somewhat industrialized, and was home to the largest stocking mill in the country. 

Josie’s father was a clerk. Josie was their first child, but her mother Josephine died two weeks after childbirth.  Josie is with her father and step-mother Emma in the 1880 census in Ipswich.  For some reason, Josie’s uncle Albert and wife Lucinda took Josie to live with them.  Did that coincide with the arrival of Emma’s own children?  Was it because Albert and Lucinda didn’t have any children of their own?  With the loss of the 1890 census, I am unable to show where Josie lived in 1890, but since family lore is that she was raised by an aunt and uncle on her father’s side, it can be guessed that she went with them as a small child. 

Albert Warren Smith and Lucinda Stone were married in 1867 in Lynn, and lived there the remainder of their lives.  Albert was a stone mason.  Josie had lost her mother as a newborn, and moved away from her father as a toddler.  When she was only 10, her adoptive mother Lucinda died.  A year later, Albert married again to Mary Breed. 

In 1890, the family moved from 5 Stone Place to 119 Holyoke Street.  Her soon-to-be husband, Frank D Hodges, lived at 123 Holyoke at the time of the 1900 census. 

Josie and Frank were married on 28 November 1900, at the South Street Methodist Church, on what would have been the 30th anniversary of Frank’s parents Jonathan and Henrietta (Vroom) Hodges.  This church became a community center, and most recently (2007) was remodeled into condos.  Frank and Josie set up their home at #9 Oak Street, and also lived at 44 Reed (1902), 35 Bullfinch (1904), 216 Maple (1905).  One might infer that they were moving to larger quarters, as by then, all four sons had been born.  Frank’s mother Henrietta and sister Etha were also part of the household.  In 1907, the family moved to Lowell.  In 1908 they were in Dracut, and 1909 back in Lowell at 214 Gibson, then on Sladen Street.  By 1910, the family was back in Lynn, living at 13 Smith.  Josie’s sister-in-law Etha, and a Vroom cousin lived with them.  In 1911, the family lived at 6 Pond, then moved from Lynn to 4 Prospect, in Nashua NH.  They lived for a couple years at 8 Water, in Hudson, then moved in 1915 to Merrimack. 

Frank moved the family to Moore, PA, just outside Philadelphia, where he worked as a carpenter in the shipyards.  They were living there in 1918, but returned to Prospect Street in Nashua, where the family lived when Frank died in 1919. 

First son Albert Warren Hodges was no doubt named for the uncle who raised Josie. Albert was the only son to be known by his first name.  Frank Chester was probably named for his father Frank.  Arthur Roland may have been named for the Roland family (Frank’s grandmother’s second husband) that took in Henrietta and her children when her husband died.)  I have not found a family name connection for Frederick Donald.  No son was named for her birth father.

In 1920, Josie, with sons Frank (Chet) and Frederick (Don), lived in Nashua.  Etha lived with them.  Josie worked as a clerk in a store.  Although one daughter-in-law remembers Josie as “being brought up as a “lady.”  liking to dress up for afternoon visiting, and not wanting to work, she did housework for others in Merrimack and Reeds Ferry, after her husband died.  The city directories list Josie with a variety of addresses and occupations.  In 1921 and 1923, she was listed as a sample mounter.  In 1926, she was listed as a nurse.  In 1927, she lived in Reed’s Ferry with two of her sons.  In 1935 – 1940, she lived at 27 Spring, and was a nurse.  From 1942 – 1946, she lived at 2 Courtland, and was a nurse at Nashua Memorial Hospital. 

By 1948, Josie was listed as retired, living at 10 Allds, which is the Mary Hunt Home in Nashua.  She was the youngest person in the home, so she got to help with sorting the mail and answering the phone.  Even when invited to spend holidays with family, she enjoyed staying with her friends at the Home.  Newspapers of the era indicate she was active with her church groups “Universalist Women”, and with a patriotic service group, the Women’s Relief Corps. WRC was formed in the 1880s as an auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic.  Josie was apparently interested in her heritage as a descendant of a civil war soldier, as she had sent away for information about Andrew P Felton, her mother’s father.  She was also a member of the Olive Branch Rebekah Lodge. (The Daughters of Rebekah is a service organization and a branch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.) Josie was buried at Edgewood Cemetery.


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