Dorothy Dolly Perham d 8 March 1904

Dolly Perham was born 3 June 1813 in Wilton NH, second of seven children of Oliver and Patty (Holt) Perham.  Her grandfather was a revolutionary war soldier. She married Joseph Adams 1 February 1838 in Chelmsford, MA

In 1840, the Joseph Adams family lived next door to his parents, in Chelmsford.  Later in the 1900 census, Dolly would report that she had five children, two still living in 1900.  I know that she had Mary Ella who died as a toddler, and John and Julia who outlived her, so I am missing two other children. 

So far I have been unable to locate Dolly or Joseph in the 1850 census.  The family was apparently not together, as I did find JJ and JM with E and T Adams in Chelmsford.  This is presumably her father-in-law (Ephraim) and mother-in-law (Tabitha) with her son John Joseph and daughter Julia Maria, as all the ages and locations match up with them.  But where are Joseph and Dolly? 

I also was not able to find the family together in 1860, and with a name as common as Joseph Adams, it is important to be able to match up family groups.  I did find Dolly P (as in Perham) adams living in Chelmsford with two other ladies – Eliza Fish and S. W. Parker.  There is also a Joseph of and appropriate age living in Kingston MA, but I don’t know if it is Dolly’s husband.

Joseph died in 1862.  His death record is in Massachusetts death records, although history books say he was a resident of Milford at the time of his death. 

In the 1870 census I found a Dolly Adams living in Chelmsford, age 55, housekeeping.  This may be Dolly Perham, although the census-taker reported her as being born in NH.  In 1880, Dolly lived alone in Milford.  She listed her occupation as “keeping house.”  I don’t know if this meant she kept house for other people, or if she just maintained her own house. 

In 1900, Dolly lived with her daughter Maria (Mrs. Newton Perham and family) in Milford. Dolly died 8 March 1905. She was living on Amherst Street, and had been a resident of Milford for 23 years, and previously a resident of Chelmsford. Cause of death was valvular disease of the heart, which she had had for many years.  She is buried at West Street Cemetery and shares a headstone with her daughter and family.


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