Jonathan Hodges d 17 December 1875

Jonathan Hodges was born about 1835 in Aylesford, Nova Scotia, the son of Jonathan and Ruth (Taylor) Hodges.  The elder Jonathan had a brother John C Hodges, who had a son Jonathan C Hodges, born about the same time.  In fact, the children of both brothers were named similarly – Jonathan/Jonathan C, Mary Ann/Mary, William/Willard, John Wesley/John Henry.  I learned that I would need to document information for both families to keep them straight – a good reason to check out the wider branches of the tree, and not just concentrate on the direct ancestors. 

This family lived in the Morristown area, just south of Berwick.  Lumbering and farming were the basic industries.   Apparently Jonathan lived in Pennsylvania briefly, because in 1869, after his father died, his brother William requested that he be allowed to move forward with settling the estate, since the younger Jonathan was living in PA.   Jonathan’s portion of his father’s estate would have been the north half of the farm, about 60 acres plus half of the stock and buildings, if he returned from the US, the other half going to the youngest son, Sylvanus Boardman Hodges. 

He returned to Nova Scotia, and on 28 November, 1870, he married Henrietta J Vroom.  His uncle, Stephen Taylor, and her step-father Thomas Roland were the witnesses.  The Rev. James Taylor officiated, but I have not been able to determine yet if he was related to the family.  

The 1871 census of Aylesford South lists farmer Jonathan and wife Henrietta, and his widowed mother lived with them.  Jonathan and Henrietta eventually had four children.  The identity of the first one is not known, but his or her existence is indicated from later census records, where Henrietta reports four children born, two living.  Etha was born in 1873 in Nova Scotia, and Frank in 1874, and Charles in 1875 in Massachusetts.   

Many years later in a letter from Etha to her nephew Albert, she explained that people knew her father as Sampson.  He is so listed in the Kings County birth records for his son Charles.  (Apparently Henrietta registered his birth in Nova Scotia as well as in MA.) Etha did not explain why he had this nickname, but perhaps it at least distinguished him from his cousin Jonathan C. 

Jonathan died of consumption at age 40 just three weeks after the birth of Charles.  Some records say 17 December, some 19 December, 1875, in Cochituate, MA which is now part of Wayland.  The official death record lists his occupation as well digger, although Henrietta referred to him as an engineer. Henrietta took Jonathan back to Nova Scotia for burial.  Sadly, her son Charles died just two months later at the age of three months.  They are buried together in the Old Morristown cemetery. 

A far distant Vroom cousin kindly visited this cemetery and sent me photos of the headstone.  It was thrilling to see the photograph, and a year or so later, my brother and I did visit the area.  This cemetery is one of my favorite places to visit.  We happened to be there at noon and the chimes from the church across the street played “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”.  It was like getting a message from beyond.  On a more recent visit, I recorded all the headstones in the old cemetery, and they are on Find-A-Grave.  Sadly, Jonathan’s headstone is starting to tip.  Another Nova Scotia cousin is going to try to get some work done to protect these headstones.

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