Rose M Granfield-Keen Chick Keen Roberts 1885-1969

I have written about Charles Winfield Chick in the past – my very multi married (10 documented wives so far) distant cousin-in-law well removed.  I decided to try to find out where all the wives came from, and what happened to them afterwards.  This is the story of Charles’ first marriage – apparently the only legitimate marriage of the first seven (that he admitted to in court).

On 1 September 1907, in Revere, MA, Charles married Rosie M Keen.  Charles, 21, was a spindle straightener (probably for textile mill machines) living in Biddeford ME, born in Kittery, the son of Caleb W Chick and Almeda Eaton.  Rosie was 19, “at home”, in Revere, born in Amesbury MA, daughter of Nathaniel J Keen and Rosie Burchum.  Knowing Rose’s parents, and where she lived, it should have been easy to find more information.  I did find parents Nathaniel and Rose in the 1900 census, but the children had the last name Way.  In looking at how the children were listed, it appears that an older now-widowed daughter Lillian had been married to a Way, and the rest of the children should have been listed as Keene.  But the indexers listed all the children as Way.  They show up on several Ancestry trees in this manner, even though there are no records to support that Dora, Rosa, Robert, or Hiram (who is really Herman) have the last name Way.  Another issue is that according to the census, Nathaniel and Rosa have only been married two years, but she has five children, all still living.  So are the children Nathaniel’s from his previous wife Sarah F Morrill?  Are they Rosa’s from a previous marriage?

Massachusetts marriage records show that Lillian Burcham, daughter of Edward Kent and Rosa Burcham married Fred Henry Way in 1896.  She was in the 1900 census with Nathaniel and Rose, and that explains why the census taker, who was merely listing all the children in order, caused confusion about the last name of the younger children.

Still, accepting that all the children listed in that census are really Keen, and searching on the last name only, with the parents being Nathaniel J Keen and Rose Burchum, I was not able to find birth, marriage, or death records for any of those children, with the exception of Rose and her marriage to Charles Chick.  One on-line tree said that Nathaniel died in 1938 in Rockingham County, NH.  Ancestry has a good selection of newspapers from Portsmouth, in Rockingham County, and I found the death notice for Nathaniel.  It mentioned “survived by” family members, and one was his step-daughter Mrs. Charles W Keen.   I found a marriage record for Charles W Keen to Rosie May Granfield, daughter of Robert C Granfield and Rosie Burchum.  With that information, I was able to find birth records for several Granfield children with parents Rosie Burchum and Robert Granfield that matched the children in the 1900 census with Rosie and Nathaniel.

Young Rose had several brothers and sisters:  half-sister Lillian (Lily May) Kent born in 1880; Dora Granfield b 1885 (she also married a Keen – Arthur); Charles born in 1887, died in 1888; Rose in 1888; Robert b 1889; Herman b 1891; George b/d  1895; Unnamed b/d in 1898.

So Rosie Keen who married Charles W Chick was really Rosie Granfield, and then she confused me by marrying in 1911 to Charles W Keen (no relation at least two generations back, to her step-father Nathaniel Keen).   Rose and Charles lived in Salem and Lawrence MA, and they had a son Charles born about 1914.  Rose’s husband was a blacksmith in an iron factory.  In 1930 they lived in Lawrence MA, and Charles was a salesman at a mill.  In 1935, they lived in Methuen, but by 1938 had moved to North Salem NH, according to Rose’s step-father’s obituary.

The Portsmouth newspaper reported in December 1938 the divorce of Charles Keen of Salem NH and Rosie Keen, parts unknown.

I wasn’t able to find Rosie Keen in the 1940 census, or in death records. I decided to look for any Rosie with her date of birth, 8 July 1888, in the Social Security Death Index.  One that looked likely was Rose Roberts who died in 1969 in Methuen.  She had links to that town – her son lived there.  The Rose most likely to be that person was in the 1940 census, born in 1888, wife of Watkins W Roberts.  I was not able to find a marriage record that directly linked Watkins to Rose, but did find Watkins in an index as marrying in 1938 in Metheun MA.  Unfortunately, the index doesn’t list the spouse, but does list the volume and page number.  And by searching the index using the page numbers, I was able to find that Rose Granfield Keen had also married in 1938 in Metheun, and the index numbers matched.

Watkins was an attorney and 1897 graduate of Harvard.  The Harvard 25th anniversary book for the class of 1897 gives his birth date as 14 October, 1875, at Lawrence, MA, son of Michael Roberts and Mary Elizabeth Crawford.  (His maternal grandmother was a Kean from Scotland – just a coincidence, I’m sure.) In his yearbook entry, he writes:  In 1898 I took a bicycle trip through France, southern Germany, Switzerland, the Austrian Tyrol, and Italy.  In 1900 I was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar, and since that time I have been engaged in general practice at Lawrence, Mass.  I was secretary of the Board of Park Commissioners from 1907 to 1912; am assistant clerk of District Court of Lawrence, secretary of the Lawrence Bar Association, and a member of the Lawrence Press Club.  I have traveled on business and pleasure trips through Canada, and a large part of the United States.  Fishing and hunting are my principal recreations.  During the war I served in the Massachusetts Field Artillery, from 1907 to 1917; commanded C Battery, 1st Mass., F.A.N.G., on Mexican Border service, from June to November, 1916.  In April, 1917, was transferred to Mass. N.G. Reserve.  Offered services in World War, but was not accepted.  Since graduation I have worked some, studied some, acquired fair knowledge of two additional modern languages, played some, suffered some, had my fair share of the joys of life, am endowed with worldly goods, “not much, not little, but just between”; in short, during the last twenty-five years I have pulled just about an average oar, and am still on the course.  I have published several short stories, special articles, and verses, of no special importance.  Am now conducting, as a sort of indoor sport, two weekly newspaper columns for the Standard Company of Pittsburgh. 

Soon after submitting his autobiography for publishing in the yearbook, Watkins married Minerva V Holmes on 28 Apr 1923.  Watkins worked as an attorney and clerk in district court.  He apparently continued his love of travel.  In October of 1938, he sailed from Naples to New York on the SS Conte di Savoia.  He was listed as widowed.

Rose’s father, step-father, and second husband were all blacksmiths.  Marrying an attorney would probably be seen as a step up in society for her.  Rose’s marriage to Charles Chick was short, and since he joined the Navy and was away much of the time, it was probably a lonely time for her.  Her second marriage did not work out. I hope that Rose had a good life for the twenty years she was with Watkins.  Watkins died in 1958 and Rose died in 1969.

 

 

 

 

 

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