Joseph Orlando Morse and the Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad. What part, if any, did Joseph Orlando Morse have? His entire family, his father, Parker (Jr) and his three uncles, Mark, Levi, and Joseph (for whom we think he was named), along his grandfather, Parker (Sr), were main players of the Underground Railroad in Woodford County, Illinois.

The family’s involvement is well documented. But why did they get involved? It starts with Joseph’s grandfather, Parker Sr. The family moved from Vermont and in 1835, settled in what would become Woodford County in 1841. According to the book, Records of Olden Times, “About 1839 a poor negro slave, who had been captured by his master, chained by wrists and legs was driven past his place, on his way back to bondage. The sight made his blood boil, and Mr. [Parker Sr] Morse resolved from that time forward to be an active worker in the cause for freedom.”

His views, his morals, were also passed on to and shared by his sons. His son Joseph T. Morse was jailed for a time in the Tazewell County jail (there was no jail in Woodford County at the time) for aiding and abetting a fugitive (runaway slave). We’ve never found if someone turned him into the authorities or what might have caused his apprehension but we do know he was acquitted by trial . And this seems to be the only time one of the Morse men were pursued by authorities.

Even the method of transportation of the human contraband  has been recorded. History of Lake County, describes method of transportation attributed to Levi Morse but we think all the family used the same. It reads, “Deacon Levi Morse, of Woodford County, near Metamora, had a route towards Magnolia, Putnam County; and his favorite “car” was a farm wagon in which there was a double bottom. The passengers were snugly placed below, and grain sacks, filled with bran or other light material, were laid over, so that the whole presented the appearance of an ordinary load of grain on its way to market.”

This family, related to us by marriage, continues to amaze us.   Joseph is my third great uncle by marriage. He married my third great aunt, Amelia (Frink) Morse in 1855. They were married in Vermont even though both families were at the time living in Illinois. We feel the families may have known each other at an earlier time.

Not only were the Morse family members staunch advocates of disregarding the Fugitive Slavery Act, they also believed in religious equality and educational equality. Joseph’s own father and Uncle Mark were church deacons. Joseph’s Aunt, Love Morse, was the first teacher at the school. This school was the first free school in Woodford County and some say the first free school in the state of Illinois.

At one time we wondered why our great-great grandfather, S. William Frink (Amelia’s brother) did not serve in the Civil War. And we know for a fact he was a firm believer in the United States, so much so that later on he was a Justice of the Peace. But why did he not serve? Then it dawned on us. How could he pledge his allegiance to the government when he was well aware of what his sisters- in-law were actually doing? They were breaking the law.

Our family, our ancestors, are just amazing. But the families they married into are equally so.

[Story contributed by Distant Cousin Sue F]


Hampton Bynum Tilly d 1843

When I first started researching John C Tilly (1837-1864), I believed that his parents were Edmond and Sarah (Ferguson) Tilly from Ashe County NC. John Tilly was in the 1850 census, right age, adjacent to the county to where he later married, had children, and died. But I’ve taken another look, and now feel I had the wrong parents attached to John. I now believe that the parents of John Tilly (who married Elizabeth Johnson and then Fannie Speer) are Hampton Bynum Tilly and Cynthia C Moore.

The 1850 census shows a John Tilly, age 12, in Johnson County, TN (JCT). Also counted in this household is Smith M Tilly, age 17. They are in the household of Green Moore, and that is the name of Cynthia Moore’s brother. Also in the household is Phillip M Kiser, son of Camilla Moore, Cynthia’s sister. Smith Moore Tilly died in 1917, and his death record names his mother as Cynthia Moore. Living in JCT but in a different household in 1850 is Samuel Tilly. His death record shows parents as JH Tilley and Cynthia Moore. Also in JCT in 1850 is William C Tilly, and his Find-A-Grave page lists his parents as Hampton Bynum and Cynthia Moore Tilley. Because Cynthia and her 5 sons and 1 daughter were all in JCT in 1850, I believe that the John Tilly who was living in that county (not Ashe Co NC) was her son. In fact, all the Tillys living in JCT in 1850 were her children.

On 10 Jun, 1849, in JCT, Cynthia C Tilly married Abraham Lowe, and had three more children with him. The marriage document doesn’t identify the parents of either party, but it does place Cynthia Tilly in JCT prior to 1850. Her daughter Mary Tilly was with Cynthia and Abraham Lowe in the 1850 census, along with his children from his previous marriage (his wife had died in 1849.)

So where was Cynthia’s first husband, Hampton Bynum Tilly? I found Hampton B Tilly in the 1840 census, living in Tyrrell County, NC. The 1840 census does not list the each family member, but the genders and ages match Cynthia and the first four sons – with the last two children being born after the 1840 census.

On 9 Sept 1842, the Rasp (a newspaper from Raleigh NC) printed the following: [Terminology and spelling copied from the original paper.] DEATH BY VIOLENCE – On Friday, the 9th instant, Mr. William Martin was deprived of life by his overseer, a Mr. Tilly, near his plantation in the northern part of this county. The reported circumstances of the murder may be briefly summed up as follows: Tilly was engaged, with Martin’s slaves, in procuring some timber, and Martin having gone out to examine the operation, some misunderstanding or altercation took place between them, which resulted in Tilly’s knocking Martin’s brains out with the butt of a gun. No other person was present, except the negroes alluded to. Tilly has been committed for trial, but says he acted in self-defence. We, however, learn from a gentleman who arrived at the fatal spot before Mr. Martin’s body was removed, that the appearance of the implement of destruction, leave a strong impression against the perpetrator of the deed. Salem Gazette

The trial was held in April 1843 in Greensborough NC, and the news story identified the prisoner as Hampton B Tilly. Many witnesses testified that Tilly, employed by Martin as overseer, held ill will toward Martin, and had carried a dirk and handguns in anticipation of encountering Martin. They testified that Tilly had complained of being poorly treated by Martin, but also that Martin had made threats against Tilly. Tilly did admit to the killing, but said it was self-defense, pointing out that he didn’t try to escape, and in fact, reported the incident to neighbors. However, so many witnesses spoke of Tilly’s animosity towards Martin that the jury in only an hour agreed upon the verdict of guilty. The defense attorney, J. T. Morehead, asked for a new trial, but it was denied.

The case was appealed to the state Supreme Court. There is a note in the documents that the prisoner was insolvent, and he was allowed to appeal without posting security. The defense argued that Tilly should have been able to use his own statements, right after the event (apparently when reporting this to neighbors) as support for his claim of self-defense – this was denied. The trial judge did correctly instruct for murder (rather than manslaughter or self-defense) if the jury believed that the defendant has malice against the deceased. The fact that the deceased was a “man of high temper” was not to be considered – only whether he was a violent and dangerous man. The appeal was denied.

On 20 Oct 1843, Hampton Tilly was ordered executed by hanging. On 4 Nov 1843, the Greensborough Patriot printed the story of the public execution, almost more as an editorial rather than a strictly factual description: By 12 o’clock a great throng had gathered at the spot—in vehicles of various descriptions, on horseback, but far most on foot. All conditions, and ages, and colors were there. Conspicuous on many a bony old carryall and shaggy mule, or tiptoeing in the crowd, were the negroes, manifesting that unsophisticated and unrestrained interest which such a scene naturally inspires in such minds. Women—“delicate and tender women!” were there: but what business or what enjoyment they had, is probably best known to that potent being who visited Eden in his wrath and instilled his spirit into the bosom of mother Eve, and who must also have put it into the tender hearts of her daughters to come and see a fellow creature hung! But most painful was it to see the little boys—and some little girls too—led up by their tiny hands to “learn a lesson” – to learn a lesson!—and, merciful heaven! To learn at the gallows!

Now the tap of the drum is heard, and the “Guards,” with their arms and uniform glittering in the sunshine, file slowly through the swaying crowd, and form a hollow square at the door of the prison. The door opens, and between two officers appears the condemned man, in a long white shroud-like robe, the cap upon his head, his arms pinioned, and a rope with the hangman’s rugged knot about his neck. The silence and the stillness are profound,–every pulse bounds quicker, and every heart swells with strange emotion, as he steps into the cart and takes his seat upon the black coffin. With measured tread the Guards march away to the knell-like tap of the muffled drum, and the crowd breaks and rushes along like a swollen stream, to the lonely spot where the gallows is erected, far from the sight and the busy haunts of men. There the tide is stayed, and the throng cluster around the criminal to catch his last accents, expecting words of fearful import at that honest hour of the murderer’s life.

The rope is tied to the gallows-tree, the cap is drawn over his eyes, the cart driven away, and he swings heavily into the air—a thousand up-turned faces pale at the sight—the whole throng shivers for a moment, as though one vast heart sent a chill through every artery—and again does stillness dwell for a time over the multitude.

The reporter went on to say that Tilly’s spirit was unsubdued, that he seemed callous and lacking feelings. He talked about 45 minutes, describing his quarrels with Martin and alleging that trial witnesses had lied. The reporter said that his manner of speaking had a tendency to convince the bystanders that the verdict of the jury was correct.

Now widowed, with five little boys under the age of 11, and pregnant with Mary, Cynthia move to Tennessee and lived near other Moore family members.   In 1849, she married Abraham Lowe. Tragedy struck the family again in about 1864, when Cynthia’s son John was shot and killed by marauders at his home. The rest of her Tilly and Lowe children lived long lives. Abraham Lowe died in 1873, and Cynthia in 1887.

A book written in 1992 by Bill Cecil-Fronsman, called Common Whites: Class and Culture in Antebellum North Carolina, p 62, says the following about the Tilly Case: [Original terms and spellings] In 1842 when an overseer, Hamton B. Tilly of Stokes County, was convicted of murdering his employer, William G. Martin, the community rallied to his aid. Not only did the petitions to the governor claim Tilly had acted in self-defense, they also implied that Martin deserved whatever fate he received. Martin apparently had an “over baring disposition”. If that were not enough, they noted “the supposition is that William G. Martin plases his overseers on a level with the negros.” Southern society may not have been a democracy in which all whites were each other’s social equals, but common whites thought it ought to be. The community had considerable power to enforce its code. If it approved of an individual’s response it might refuse to convict him for crimes he had committed (which was presumably why Martin’s family had Tilly tried in a different county). It might urge that he receive executive clemency. The community was defending its own version of the moral economy. When a planter violated some accepted right, the community would rally to restore it. Martin apparently violated Tilly’s right to be treated with the respect accorded white men. The community was prepared to support Tilly’s response, even when a life was taken. (76)   [76. GP 105, 10-183]

The newspaper clippings did not mention Tilly’s family, although his wife was mentioned in passing by at least one witness. Nothing in the paperwork proves that Hampton was John’s father. I did do an on-line search a will, but didn’t find one. Perhaps his status as “insolvent” precluded the need for a will. The stories did identify Hampton’s father as David.

Hampton and Cynthia can be found in on-line trees at Ancestry – his birthdate is often given as 12 Nov 1805 in Stokes County NC. Sadly, for all the trees – nearly 100, none have documentation such as a birth, marriage, or death record, and just a couple have the 1840 census attached.

Hampton Tilly’s father’s will was written in 1859. While most of the elder David’s sons and daughters were recognized to greater or lesser extent, some receiving land and livestock, David only provided for (now deceased son) Hampton’s second son, David G, giving him a horse, bridle, and saddle worth $50, but Hampton’s other heirs got “one dollar and no more.”   Perhaps Hampton’s family was being punished for pro-Union sympathies – as it appears that only David G Tilly served in CSA. But however the family might have been divided during the Civil War, Hampton’s sons Smith Moore Tilly and David Green Tilly both moved to Clay, Illinois, dying there in 1917 and 1918. Sons Samuel and William stayed in Johnson County TN, dying in 1926 and 1918. Daughter Mary Tilly Garland also died in JCT in 1926.


The Mysterious Miss Grace Addison

Grace Addison joined my family tree in 1898, when she married my distant cousin, actor Frederick (or Frederic) Vroom. At the time I wrote his biography for this blog, I was unaware of Grace’s history. This is her story, and updates his story as well, where they intersect.

I have not yet found Grace’s birth record. Later records from the census, passenger records, and her death certificate give years varying from 1856 to as late as 1872. Her death record names her parents as Edward Addison and what appears to be Gwennie Davis but just says that she was born in the US. Her places of birth are variously recorded as United States, Ohio (with parents born in Indiana), Pennsylvania (with parents born in Wales), and New York City. I have not been able to find any early records for Grace or her family, until she is mentioned in newspapers in 1882.

Grace was an actress for about twenty years.  In 1884, Grace was part a dramatic company appearing with W. F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) in “The Prairie Waife”, a play written for Cody by John A Stevens. This was a year before Annie Oakley joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. While the newspapers through the years named her roles and parts, I have not been able to find scripts or descriptions on line for these shows. Even when the plays were less than highly regarded, her reviews were consistently good, with phrases like: gave the play what life it had; pleased the audience with song and dance; the costumes were dreams. During her performance years, she survived and recovered from loss of her voice, and typhoid fever.

It appears that Grace was politically active as she was often mentioned as a member, speaker, or officer of NYC’s Professional Woman’s League.  Many of the women in this group were from the theater.  A story from 6 Aug 1893 – Daily Picayune – Green Room – Gossip of Plays and the Players – “Genius and the Stage Management of To-Day, with Hints to Actresses” was the subject of a paper read by Grace Addison at last Wednesday’s meeting of the Professional Woman’s League, says the New York Dramatic Mirror…. Owing to the inability of a member to be present and read a paper for which she had been assigned, Miss Addison prepared her paper on short notice, and it was necessarily brief, but it furnished a good theme for debate. Miss Addison maintained that modern managers, by casting talented young women for parts unsuited to them, checked budding genius and originality and conspired to make actresses mere machines and puppets. This assertion was the cause of considerable talk, in which the older members told some things about old-time managers and their methods that were new to their younger sisters of the stage.

In 1894, the Victoria Daily Colonist published a story about the Professional Women’s League, describing Grace Addison, a young and favorably known actress, who has interesting ideas on the revival of the Shakespearean drama. At a PWL meeting later that year, she gave a paper which asserted that she was “a lineal descendant of the gentleman who gave us Sir Roger de Coverley, declared the genius of her ancestry in discussing the merits of Moliere”. The article did not explain how Grace was descended from Moliere.

While in NYC, Grace often lived with her sister Marie. In 1895, Grace played Nerissa in Merchant of Venice. Frederic Vroom was Antonio. This is the first record I have where Grace and Frederic worked together. Grace sailed several times between NY and Paris, often travelling with Marie.

On 22 February, 1897, the Brooklyn Standard Union reported: A strong company of vaudeville favorites, including Grace Addison and Frederick Vroom, will delight the patrols of the Criterion Theater this week. Another item reported: There was a good-sized audience at the Criterio Theatre last night, and they were well entertained, judging by the way they applauded the performers. Grace Addison made her first appearance in vaudeville last night, and met with a hearty reception in the comediatta entitled, “The Courtship of Master Modus. She was assisted by Frederick Vroom, who is a popular comedian. A review said “she played Helen – enacted with vivacity and impression, the graceful art of love-making.”

In August, 1897, the Temple Theatre (Louisville KY) engaged Frederick Vroom as leading man and Grace Addison as leading lady. (Twenty years later, this theater was one of the first to show moving pictures.) Grace married the previously divorced Frederick Vroom on 7 April, 1898 in Louisville. The marriage record index does not name the parents of either, although Frederick’s parents are known from other records as Albert Douglas Vroom and Charlotte Maria Morse.

Grace continued to tour, visiting British Columbia, England, and the southern and middle states of the US. In 1899 the Vroom-Addison company reached California. “It is announced that Miss Grace Addison, the handsome and talented emotional actress of the Vroom-Addison Company, who has been recognized for her ideal and passionate interpretation of Shakespeare’s heroines …will be seen this season on this coast.” Grace was apparently fluent in the French language, as she was credited with translating a French play into English. The newspapers continued to compliment Grace’s appearance and talents, calling her “an actress of rare emotional ability.”

Even after she committed attempted homicide against her husband, the papers seemed sympathetic to her. The following quotes and information are taken from The San Francisco Call on 13 May 1900, and the days following.

ACTRESS GRACE ADDISON SHOOTS FAITHLESS SPOUSE Actor Frederic Vroom is nursing a gunshot wound received at the hands of Grace Addison Vroom, actress. It is not a stage wound, nor is the bullet that crashed against his rib a stage ball, although the state of affairs that led to the shooting is dramatic in the extreme.  

The Vroom-Addison Dramatic Company had been working in the San Francisco area. Frederick had become interested in the gold rush at Cape Nome (Alaska) and had been neglecting the Company. He also became neglectful of his home and began spending time at his office. Grace became suspicious, and set up the bed in the office in such a way that she would know if it had been used. When it wasn’t, she hired a detective who traced Fredrick to the home of another actress named Maude Morrell. Grace confronted Maude at home, and depending on which woman is telling the story, either did or did not threaten Maude with a gun, getting a full confession from her. She also claimed to have found her husband’s night-shirt there, and discovered that Frederick was visiting the boarding house under an assumed name. Grace then confronted her husband at his office, showing the night-shirt and accusing him of treachery. Vroom struck his wife, knocking her down, and she shot at him. Vroom was taken to a doctor, and Grace went to her sister’s house. The shooting was not reported to the police, and at the time of this first story, no arrests had been made.
The day after this story was published, Grace turned herself in at police headquarters, saying, “My name is Grace Addison Vroom, and I have come to surrender myself for shooting my husband last Tuesday. You can do anything you like with me, put me in jail and keep me there forever, as my heart is broken, and I wish I were dead.” Grace claimed to have bruises from her husband’s assault on her. Although she was charged with “Assault to Murder”, her bail was set at only $25 and officers escorted her home to get the money. By this time, Frederick had gone to Seattle, probably on his way to Cape Nome, and since he wasn’t there to file a complaint, it was expected that the case would be dismissed. Maude Morrell had also disappeared. The police seemed most angry at Dr. Charles J. Schmelz who attended Vroom after he was shot, for not reporting the affair, saying if the law could reach him action would be taken against him.

The newspaper reported that Mrs. Vroom had saved about $3000, which she put into the Addison-Vroom Company, but through her husband’s misconduct with the Morrell woman the company disbanded and she lost her money. She had been playing an engagement at the Dewey Theater, Oakland.  Speaking of that she said: “All week I played while my heart was breaking. I wanted to give myself up, but they would not let me, as it would have spoiled the play, so I struggled on, but little did the audiences know how much it cost me.”

The following day, Maude Morrell gave her story to the papers. She was apparently held in high regard in the community, which felt outraged at the incident, believing that no illicit relations what ever existed between her and Actor Vroom. While she was in the Vroom-Addison Company, she developed a friendship with Vroom, who would visit her from time to time. Maude said she only signed the confession because Grace threatened her with a gun. Friends of Maude described Grace as insanely jealous and a fuss maker.

Grace did appear in court on the charges, turning the weapon over to a detective. She denied that she threatened Maude with a weapon in order to get the confession, saying she didn’t even have it with her at the time. She also stated that when she searched Maude’s room, she found things that her husband had stolen from her and gave to Maude. The court case seems to have ended there. Ten days later, the papers reported that Grace had sailed on the “Charles D Lane”, going to Nome to join a theatrical group. I don’t know if Grace and Frederick met up with each other in Alaska. The population in 1900 was over 12,000, but it would seem plausible for one to find the other with a minimum of effort.

A New York paper commented on the shooting, said, “Mrs. Frederick Vroom, at the point of a pistol, compelled Miss Maud Morrell, an actress, to acknowledge her fondness for Mr. Vroom. Armed with Miss Morrell’s confession and the same pistol, the spirited wife went gunning for her husband and shot him, but alas! not fatally. Those who have seen Mr. Vroom busily at work acting out on the stage in Mme. Modjeska’s farewell company must feel inclined to chide Mrs. Vroom bitterly for her careless inaccuracy in the use of firearms. The Glorious Climate – There must be something conducive to emotional eccentricity about the glorious climate of California. Little Mrs. Vroom as Miss Grace Addison was the meekest kind of an actress before she took up her residence in Frisco and became a shooting star.”

On 18 June 1900, Mrs. Grace Vroom was counted in the federal census in Seattle at Arlington Docks. She was probably on her way to Alaska, as many of the people around her were listed as prospectors or miners. Cape Nome is on the Bering Sea, Alaska and was an area of placer mining after a claim in June 1899. Her stay in Alaska was short. By early 1901 Grace was performing in NYC – Grace Addison is in a part well suited to her line of work.

A news item 1902 “Grace Addison received word last week that her claim on Solomon Creek at Cape Nome will prove quite valuable next year.” Over the next few years papers reported Grace’s appearances in Maine and Philadelphia as well as New York. She worked with the Women’s Professional League running a rummage sale of costumes distinguishing herself in the role of auctioneer. A 1903 items says Grace Addison sold her residence at Cairo, Ill., and went to Southern California, where she intended to purchase a homestead.  The PWL presented Euripides’s tragedy “Alkestis” with Grace Addison managing the production and playing Alkestis. In fact, all but two players were women, and the managing, directing, and staging was all done by PWL. In October 1903, a news item says Grace Addison was convalescing from a serious illness but didn’t identify the illness.

In 1905, Grace was counted in the New York State Census living in Manhattan with her sister Marie, and Marie’s husband Waldemar Doerschel. He was a musician.

The April 1906 issue of The Christian Science Journal published a testimony written by Grace: “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” was first placed in my hands about twelve years ago. I remember saying, after having read several pages, that it had an uplifting influence which was remarkable. However, I continued my pursuit of Eastern philosophy and the sophistry of the would-be sciences of the day, trying to find the solution to the problem of life, and little dreaming that I had laid down the precious key that would unlock its seeming mystery. The years thus drifted by, then sorrow and affliction came, and with them despair, — the darkness of night without a star. At this time my attention was again turned to Christian Science, and I received treatment, but a collapse seemed inevitable, and I was unable to resist the suggestion I must have a physician. The struggle lasted three months. According to materia medica it was a serious complication of symptoms, and unusual in the extreme. I was fed on mineral waters and liquids for many weeks, with the prospect of a year without any solid food. The physician’s last warning was that if I had a relapse he could give me no hope. I again took up Science and Health, and read it faithfully until the morbidness of not wanting to live had gradually disappeared. Life had a new meaning but the physician’s warning kept ringing in my ears, and the relapse came. I was playing at the time (being in the dramatic profession) when the pain and the swelling over my heart commenced, but I knew enough from the study of the precious book to hold on to the omnipresence of God, good. Fortunately we were playing in the city, so that I could go to a practitioner. In one treatment the swelling was removed; in two treatments I was able to eat anything, and in two weeks my condition was completely normal. In the mean time I played every night, and scarcely a member of the company knew of the battle for life that was going on. To say that I am thankful and grateful for this remarkable experience of divine healing does not express it; my life must testify its gratitude. I praise and thank God, and His Messenger, Mrs. Eddy, for this understanding of Life, Truth, and Love that leads the weary traveler to the promised land. — Grace Addison, New York, NY

A 1907 news item says that Grace was playing at the Columbia, in the burlesque and olio. This is the last record I have of Grace connecting herself to the entertainment business. The 1910 US census lists a Grace Addison in Manhattan. Her occupation is listed as teacher/ scientist. She continued travelling between NYC and France. The 1912 Christian Science Journal listed Miss Grace Addison as a Christian Science Practitioner. The 1913 city directory lists her there, occupation writer.

New York Passenger Lists show Grace arriving from France on 15 October 1912. This record lists a specific birth date of 17 Jun 1862, and specific birth place of Summit Hill, Pennsylvania. Summit Hill was an early coal mining town in Carbon County. Another passenger record shows Grace arriving back in New York on 24 August 1914, and she used that same date of birth. She was travelling with her sister, Marie Doerschel. This document has the most precise information about her birth place and date, but I cannot confirm this information with any other records.

The 1917 NYC city directory lists Grace living at 55 W 126th, occupation writer. This is a multi-home family built in 1909, now in Harlem. Grace also wrote a 4 act play, called “Just Miss Elaine” and obtained a copyright for her work on 18 April 1917. I was not able to find a copy of this play on line. The 1918 city directory lists Grace still living at 55 W 126th, occupation writer.

Grace died 4 May 1918 at the Flower Hospital. The death certificate says the cause of death was “unable to be stated”, but that her last illness was malignant degradation of uterine fibroid, contributing factor hysterectomy. Her death certificate doesn’t list her birth date or place but indicates she has been a life resident of New York City. Her home address matches that in the 1918 city directory, but her occupation appears to be “house work”. Grace is listed on Find-A-Grave at Fresh Pond Crematory and Columbarium in Middle Village, Queens County, New York.

Mysteries about Grace still exist. One of the news items about the shooting refers to Grace Addison as her stage name. It was her name before and after her marriage to Vroom. But is it her birth name? In spite of having her parents’ names listed on the death certificate, I have not yet found Grace as a child. Are her date and place of birth as recorded on the passenger lists accurate?

Grace’s sister Marie J Doerschel reported in the 1920 census that she was born in Illinois, and that her parents were born in Wales. Marie died in 1955, and she and her husband are also interred at Fresh Pond.

Frederick Vroom recovered from his wound, and soon returned from Alaska to California. I wonder if the property on Solomon Creek owned by Grace was originally owned by Vroom, perhaps part of a divorce property settlement. Vroom continued acting, appearing in silent films with Buster Keaton, probably most famously in “The General.” He married twice more, outliving both of the women. He died in 1942 in Beverly Hills.

Research Request: Harold Anderson’s Family

As a member of my local genealogy society, one of my favorite things to do is respond to requests for assistance in researching a family member in our area. Harold Anderson is not my family member, but was a fun project and demonstrates the wealth of information available on line.

Gary from Minnesota contacted WMGS and requested help finding his grandfather’s brother, Harold Anderson. Three brothers had come from Norway, two settled in Minnesota, but Harold ended up in Missoula, then disappeared. Gary had found an entry in a death index that matched Harold’s approximate age, and had a family photo labeled Harold and family (no names, date, or place). Gary had three elderly aunts who wondered if Harold’s two sons (their cousins) were still living, or if their children were. There was also family lore that Harold’s wife was part Native American.

Using the death date provided, I did find Harold Anderson on Find-A-Grave, at the Missoula Cemetery. The birth and death dates were legible in the photo. The birth date matched a WW1 draft card for Harold Anderson living at the Hamil Block in Great Falls, rancher in Chouteau County. His contact person was Theodor Anderson of Boyd, MN. I checked with Gary, and he confirmed that Theodor was one of the three brothers who came from Norway.

Since Harold was listed as a rancher, I checked the BLM General Land Office for homestead records. There was one match, on the Chouteau/Liberty county line. I let Gary know how to order the full homestead packet, if he chooses to do that.

I found Harold Anderson in Ancestry’s collection of city directories, first in Sand Coulee, then Great Falls, then in Missoula. He was a bartender, working and living at the Hammill Hotel in Great Falls, and then as proprietor of the Scandia, in Missoula at 118 West Front. When Gary shared this information with one of the aunts, she then remembered that Uncle Harold was, in fact, a bartender – extra confirmation that we were tracking the right person. He also ran a billiards establishment. His 1927 city directory entry refers to his occupation as “soft drinks” – after all, it was Prohibition.

Cascade County has a great collection of records at Not all are indexed. However, at the beginning of many sets of records are images of the indexes for that book. I did locate Harold’s naturalization and citizenship records. We discovered that Harold came from Norway to Quebec, then west on the railroad, before crossing into the USA in Michigan. Since he arrived in 1903, I didn’t need to look for him in the 1900 census, nor did I have to look through Ellis Island records. As much as I searched, however, I could not find his marriage record, nor records for the births of his sons.
I found Harold in the 1910 census, but not the 1920.

At Missoula Public Library, I located Harold’s death notice and obit. He was survived by sons Harold and Theodore – no ages listed, no wife listed. His brother Theodore came from Minnesota for the funeral. The newspaper vital statistics index also listed a divorce for a Harold and Julia Anderson. That news items named the sons – Harold and Theodore, so we could confirm that Julia was the wife of Harold Sr. The divorce was quick, apparently uncontested, and Harold got custody of the boys.

At the Missoula County Records Center, I was able to learn that there were two divorce cases (Julia vs Harold, and Harold vs Julia) as well as guardianship, and probate. The actual records were at the courthouse. I discovered that early in 1927, Julia filed for divorce, saying that Harold drank excessively and was verbally and physically violent. It appears that the case was dropped as there were no entries after Harold was served with the summons. Later in the year Harold sued Julia for divorce, saying that she stayed out late, and wouldn’t get up to cook their meals. The actual record did confirm the news item that the divorce was granted in less than a month, and Harold got custody. The divorce papers also said they were married by “oral agreement” which accounts for the lack of a marriage record.
The guardianship papers indicate that after Harold died, Julia was granted guardianship of the boys and their estate. She was also appointed administrator of her ex-husband’s estate. While there was no will, Harold did have a fair amount of property relating to his business, plus the grazing land (homestead) in Chouteau County.

Since Harold died in 1928, I expected to find the boys back with their mother, in 1930, or perhaps living with one of the uncles back in Minnesota. Instead, they were living with a couple in Butte, listed as step-sons. The woman wasn’t Julia, and the man was never married to Julia. Best guess is that they were friends of Julia who were caring for the boys at the time of the census. Since the boys were in Butte, I looked for Julia Anderson there, and found a Julia Anderson who married John Holm in 1929 in Butte. The marriage record identified her parents as Dan Hart and Delamar Richard.
I found Julia Holm in the 1940 census in Klamath Falls, OR, with son Harold Anderson. Julia died in 1970. I found her entry on Find-A-Grave, which mentioned her other living children from other marriages, including son Harold of San Francisco. Theodore was not in the 1940 census, nor listed in the FAG entry.

A private tree on Ancestry appeared to include this family. I contacted the owner, who said that Theodore died in 1939 in a car/train crash in northern California. A newspaper (from Ancestry) carried a story of four teens killed, and the date matched a Find-A-Grave entry for a Theodore Anderson in Oregon. The tree owner said Harold Jr did not have a family, and had also passed several years back. The answer wasn’t specific enough for me to identify the dozens of Harold Andersons in the Social Security Death Index.

Because of the family lore that Harold Sr. had married a Native American woman, I looked at Julia’s parents. Their marriage record says that Daniel was ½ Indian, and his bride was ¼ Indian. Using old newspapers from Chronicling America, I discovered that Daniel Hart had some run-ins with the law, but later was a church bishop in the Shaker Indian Movement on the reservation at Klamath Falls. Using Google, I found an on-line photo of Dan Hart with other church officials.

Using the theory of “cluster genealogy” – looking for family members beyond just the direct line – paid off in this case. I identified Julia’s other daughters, and found one on Find-A-Grave. She died in 1982, and this entry listed her brother Harold Anderson of San Francisco. I identified the youngest of Julia’s daughters but couldn’t find a death record for her. I used modern social media and found a person with the same not-very-common name who formerly lived in the Oregon town where Julia died, now living in Virginia. Her age was consistent with the age of the daughter in the 1940 census. Using an on-line directory, I found her address, and shared that with Gary. He contacted her, she confirmed she was the last surviving sibling, and in fact, Harold Jr had lived with her until he died 10 years ago. She seemed glad to connect with her half-brother Harold’s cousins and has shared photos and stories with them. She provided Harold’s birth date, and I was able to find Harold Jr in the SSDI, and also find an obituary for him at NewsBank.

Using a time line was important to keeping this information organized, and I was able to electronically share the timeline and all the records with Gary. The aunts were excited to learn what had happened to Uncle Harold who disappeared in Montana. The information will be shared with the cousins still in Norway.


Thomas Merrill Johnson was born about 1849 in Rutland, VT, the son of William Johnson and Lorette Proctor. The family moved to the mid-west. His first wife was Sarah Catherine “Kate” Dolan. They were married in 1876 in Nebraska. They had four children, but Kate died in 1883. Thomas’ second wife was Hattie Ellen Duggan. They were married in 1883, and had nine children. Thomas and Hattie divorced in 1901 in Illinois.

Thomas Johnson is in the 1910 census, age 60, occupation house carpenter. His wife was Jennie, and years of current marriage was “0” meaning they had been married some time shortly before 26 April, the date of the census. Jennie was born in Virginia, with her father and mother being born in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Also in the household was Bertha Miller, listed as step-daughter, age 16. Bertha was born in Pennsylvania, with her father’s birth place being listed as “Ger (Yiddish)” and her mother being born in Virginia. They lived at 11 ½ Mt Vernon Avenue in Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. I have not yet found the marriage record for Thomas and Jennie, but am guessing that her first married name was Miller, based on Bertha’s last name. This record says she has had nine children, with six still living.

In 1920, Tom and Jennie are back living in Rock Falls, Whiteside County, Illinois. Bertha is still living with them, and has a daughter of her own, Charlotte, who is listed as 1 year and 3 months old. Since the census was taken in early January, Charlotte was probably born about October 1918. The census says she was born in Illinois, with her father born in California (he’s not in the household) and her mother born in Pennsylvania. Tom was working as a house carpenter, and the family owned their house at 301 East 8th Street.

Thomas died in 1923. The death index lists his wife as Jennie Johnson. Who was Jennie? What happened to her after Thomas died?
I searched for a Bertha Miller, born about 1894 in Pennsylvania, with a mother Jennie Miller born about 1850. I located the household of Meyer W Miller in the 1900 census in Uniontown PA. He and Jennie had been married 33 years (so about 1867) and she was the mother of nine children, six still living. Bertha was six. Meyer was born in Germany, and this all matched Bertha’s information from the later census when she lived with her stepfather Thomas. In the 1900 census, the census takers were supposed to record the month and year of birth. This census taker took an extra step, recording the day of birth as well. Jennie was born 30 Aug 1849, and Bertha was born 14 Aug 1893. They lived at 45 Pittsburg Street.

I found the death record for Meyer W Miller. He died in 1908 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was listed as married, although the wife was not named. This indicates that Jennie was widowed so was free to marry in 1909 or early 1910, as indicated in the 1910 census with Thomas. I have not yet found the marriage record for Meyer and Jennie. Meyer is buried at Sylvan Heights, in Uniontown, and shares a headstone with children Moses and Rebecca, who died as toddlers.
In the 1880 census, Meyer and Jennie lived in Uniontown with children Julia, Fanny, Sarah, Louis, and Frederick. Included in the household was Catharine Stouffer, age 65, listed as Meyer’s mother-in-law. This indicates that Jennie’s maiden name was probably Stouffer, providing that her mother didn’t remarry at some point.

In the 1870 census, Meyer W Miller was living in Coldwater, Branch County, Michigan. His wife was listed as Lydia, and daughter Julia was 2, born in Michigan. It occurred to me that Lydia might be a first wife for Meyer, although the 1900 census record says that Meyer and Jennie have been married for 33 years. Perhaps Lydia used “Jennie” as a nickname. She is the same age as Jennie, and also born in Virginia as Jennie’s records indicate.

After Thomas Johnson’s death, Jennie was listed in the 1930 census in Rock Falls, living in the same house as in 1920, with her widowed daughter Sadie Meir and her granddaughter Charlotte.

I searched for records relating to Jennie Stauffer/Stouffer, and found a death record for Mrs. Jennie Collier. She died 2 April 1932 in Uniontown, PA. Her father was Peter Stauffer, her mother Catherine Schupp. Most importantly, her birthdate is listed as 31 Aug 1849 in Virginia, which matches the 1900 census, and the 1880 census which names her mother as Catherine Stouffer. Jennie’s spouse was listed as I.B. Collier, but I have not yet identified him. Jennie’s death certificate says was buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Hopgood PA. However, Billion Graves also lists her, as Jennie W Miller, at Sylvan Heights, Uniontown, PA.
In the 1850 census, I found Peter Stouffer age 45 and Catharine Stouffer age 28, and the household included Andrew 7, Mary 5, and Lydia 2, which is consistent with the ages of Jennie and her mother as found in later records. In 1860, I found Peter, Catherine, Mary, Lydia, and Sarah in East Huntingdon, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. In 1870, I found Catherine and daughter Sarah in Tyrone, Fayette, Pennsylvania. Without Jennie’s (or Lydia’s) birth record, and a marriage record for the marriage to Thomas Johnson, it is not absolutely proven that this is the right woman, but there is a pretty good circumstantial case that this Jennie is the widow of Thomas.

I don’t know how they met, but I did find some other Stouffers living in Thomas’ home town in Illinois. Perhaps after she was widowed, Jennie was visiting relatives there and met Thomas. Having her extended family still living in Uniontown would explain why she and Thomas moved there, away from his extended family in Illinois. My guess is that her third husband, I.B. Collier was from the Uniontown area, as Collier is a common name in that area.
Jennie’s children were

1. Julia b 1868 in Michigan, still living in 1881 when she was involved in an accident – the family sued the local railway company for damages. She apparently died before 1900 as Jennie’s record says nine children born, six still living in 1900. Rebecca and Moses died in the 1880s. The other children are accounted for well after 1900.

2. Fannie b 1872 in Michigan – married Frederick Pilkey, she died in 1932. Her death certificate says that her mother, Jennie Stauffer, was born in Mt. Pleasant, PA. (Fred was a doctor of electro-therapy – he died in 1943.) She is buried at Sylvan Heights.

3. Sarah W b 1874 in Pennsylvania – apparently the Sadie Meir who was with Jennie in the 1930 census in Rock Falls

4. Louis/Lewis W b 6 June 1877 in Pennsylvania – he died 5 May 1962 and is buried in Sylvan Heights Cemetery, Uniontown, PA.

5. Fred Win b 20 Sep 1879 died in 1945, spouse was Elizabeth Dugan. He is buried at Sylvan Heights.

6. Alex W b 11 May 1882 – wife Flora. They named their children Julia, Alex, Ian, Florence, Jennie, Bertha, and Lewis. He was a barber. He died in 1972 and is buried at Sylvan Heights Cemetery in Uniontown.

7. Moses b 1885 d 1886 buried at Sylvan Heights

8. Rebecca b 1888 d 1889 buried at Sylvan Heights

9. Bertha b 14 Aug 1893 – in 1930 was living with brother Fred and family.

Daniel Pickernell Revisited

This is an update from my post of 23 March 2011

Daniel Pickernell (aka Picknell) was born 23 March 1792 in Kittery, York County, Maine, the youngest of at least six children of Nelson Pickernell and Anna Place. Daniel’s father served in the Revolutionary War in 1779 as a drummer, but is listed has having deserted. Daniel’s siblings include Thomas, Lydia, Nancy, Harriet, and Samuel.

Nelson was an heir and executor to his father’s will in 1786, but sold his land in about 1792 and moved the family from Kittery. Nelson is listed in the 1800 and 1810 census in Wendell, Cheshire County, New Hampshire. Because of Daniel’s young age, he is most likely part of Nelson’s household during this time.

Daniel and his brother Samuel enlisted at Concord from Wendell (Sunapee) in the 1st Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of 1812 on 1 February 1813. They served as privates. “Sunapee’s contribution to the war effort of 1812 was large by comparison, but her soldiers saw but little actual combat.” Daniel and Samuel were both privates in Capt. Thomas Currier’s Company. Daniel earned a pension for his service, which was later transferred to his widow. “After the War of 1812 to enforce America’s right to “freedom of the seas,” there was nothing of an eventual nature that happened in Wendell for several years, except that it was a period of building new roads, establishing small district schools, clearing new land by immigrants, improving cultivation, raising large families, and migration west.” Source: The Story of Sunapee published 1941 pp 54-55.

The town records of Wendell record that “The Intentions of Marriage by Daniel Pickernell and Sally Picket both of Wendell hath been published as the law directs Wendell September 27th 1818 Nath’l Perkins T. Clerk.” Later, it is recorded that “I hereby Certify that those Persons hereafter named have Joined in Marriage by me: On the 22d day of December 1818 Daniel Pickernell to Salley Picket both of Wendell Joshua Currier, Justice Peace.” Neither the intentions nor the record of marriage name the parents of the bride and groom. Her father may have been Daniel Locke Picket, as he is the only Picket in the same county, in the 1810 census. This has not yet been verified, and she is not named in the articles I have read about her father.

I did not locate Daniel in the 1820 census. His father had remarried to Mrs. Patty Picket (unknown relationship to Sally Picket) and Nelson was living in Wendell. Only the heads of household are named, and Nelson’s household included a young man and young woman the same ages as Daniel and Sally (or his brother Samuel and new wife Sally). His brother Thomas was listed separately.

The on-line old Croydon town records are missing pages covering part of 1826, and all of 1827, so I’m not sure when he moved there. The 1828 town record for Croyden list Daniel Pickenell. It appears he was only assessed a poll tax of $1.30. He was not listed as owning property. He was also taxed 0.29 for the town, 0.50 for the school, 0.22 for the state, 0.14 maintenance, 0.10 for the county, and 0.65 for highways.

The 1830 census lists Daniel Pickernell living in Croydon, Sullivan County, New Hampshire. Occupations and family members are not listed this year.

By 1839, all of Daniel and Sally’s children had been born. The first was Charles, born February 1819 in Plainfield (source – Ancestry’s Family Data Collection.) There is a Charles who married Lois Walker, and who is listed as dying 15 Jun 1900. His death record names his parents as Daniel Picknell and Sarah Aiken – but this is from an index, and not the original record. I have not yet found any original records that link this Charles to Daniel and Sally.

The second child may be Lyman Pickernell born about 1822. A passport application lists a Lyman Picknell born about 1822 in Plainfield, and there is a marriage record of a Lyman Picknell son of Daniel marrying Julia Delano in Braintree, MA, but there is not enough information to confirm this is all the same family.

The next child was Henry Pickernell born 1827 in Croydon (according to Family Data Collection at Ancestry.) There is a Henry, born in Croydon, son of Daniel (mother not listed) who married Hannah Rogers, and this is probably the correct son.

Ancestry Family Data Collection lists Ann Pickernell, born in 1831 as daughter of Daniel G and Sarah Picket. There is an Annis M Picknell Reade daughter of Daniel Picknell (mother not named) who was the spouse of Calvin Dwight Reade. There is not enough information in her death record to confirm whether this was Daniel and Sarah’s daughter.

Daughter Emaline was born about 1832, and was mentioned in Wendell town records (see below.) Her death record names her parents as Daniel and Sarah.

Daughter Lovina J was born about July 1833. I do not have a birth record for her, but she was named in Wendell town records (see below). She died in 1901, and her death record names her parents as Dan’l Pickwell and Sarah Perkins.

Daughter Rosina was born about 1834, and some records call her Roxana. Ancestry’s Family Data Collection says she was born in Croydon, and names her parents as Daniel G Pickernell and Sarah Picket. She is also mentioned in the Wendell town records (see below). She was in the 1850 census with her father, and her death record from 1898 names her father (not her mother.)

The eighth child was Sarah Z born about 1839 in Croydon. She is listed in the Family Data Collection. She is not in the 1850 census with her father.

I was not able to find Daniel Pickernell in the 1840 census, even searching manually in Croydon, Wendell, and Plainfield. I did find the following story printed in the New-Hampshire Statesman and State Journal, (Concord, NH) Saturday, November 03, 1838; Issue 26; col F: The Court of Common Pleas was still in session when our paper went to press. The criminal docket was disposed of during the first week of the term. Daniel Pickernell, indicted for stealing a quantity of leather, was found guilty and sentenced to three years imprisonment at hard labor in the State Prison.

This article doesn’t say where he was from so it might not be the same person – but it might explain the following – why his wife and children were treated as paupers in Wendell.

On Mar 12, 1839 the children of Daniel Pickernell left to the care of the Selectmen & bound out according to law except youngest child. Wife of Daniel Pickernell and youngest child being set up was struck off to William Robinson at 1.00 pr Week. [Wendell Town Records] Similar entries were recorded in 1840 and 1841, but were not continued in 1842, which corresponds with the 3-year sentence.

I was not able to find an 1840 census that included the New Hampshire state prison by name. Moses Pillsbury was the prison warden in 1840, and his household in Concord contained 85 people (not individually named.) Daniel may well have been there. Sarah/Sally and the children would probably have been counted in the households which had been paid by the town to take care of them.

I have not yet found a death record for Daniel’s wife Sally. My last clue to her location is the 1841 town records where she and her child “was struck off to John Praddock at 96 cts per week.”

In 1850 Daniel was living in Lebanon, Grafton County, New Hampshire. He was listed as a farmer, but had no real estate value listed. Family members included Lorena, Rosina, Harvey, BA, AM, and Wm Amsden. Rosina was Daniel’s daughter. Lorena was actually Lurena T Corey. Harvey was her son and BA was probably Betsy. According to “Plainfield Genealogy”, Lurena had a relationship with Daniel Plummer, resulting in children Harvey and Elizabeth. Daniel Pickernell raised Harvey and Betsey, and they used both the Plummer and Picknell names. The youngest child is apparently Alfarette “Nettie” who was born in 1849, and is probably the first child of Daniel and Lurena. William Amsden was an elderly farmer – perhaps the Picknells were working on his farm.

The Plainfield book says that Daniel married Lurena in 1858, and their Find-A-Grave entry says they were married 5 November 1858 in Hartford, Windsor County, Vermont.

The 1860 census lists Dan Pickernell living in Plainfield, in Sullivan County, New Hampshire. His occupation is Laborer, with no real estate value, and personal property at a mere $25. The household includes his wife Lurena, plus Henry (probably Harvey based on age) Betsey, Alferetta, and four-year-old son Alva.

In 1869, Daniel and Lorena, of Plainfield, purchased land in Tunbridge, Orange County, Vermont. The seller was Job Harford, who had purchased the land from Freeman Noyes. The land description section of the sale refers to the Noyes sale for details, but that book is not included in the land records at, so I do not have the legal description.

The 1870 census lists Danl Picknall, with Loraine, Alvah, Clara, and Nettie. Daniel was listed as a farm laborer, but also had his own property valued at $500. The family included Mary A Wood, age 10 months (born July 1869.) I don’t know her relationship to the family. (Clara Isabel Picknell was born 31 Aug 1861 in Plainfield, and died 17 June 1923 in Brattleboro, Vermont).

On 12 Jun 1876, Daniel and Lurena sold land for $400 to Nathanial Freeman of Lebanon. It was described as land that Daniel bought from Job and Caroline Harford in October of 1869. The next page seems to be Freeman selling the same land back to Lurena on the same day. I’m not sure of the purpose of this transaction, unless Lurena wanted or needed to be the sole owner of the property.

An 1877 map of Tunbridge shows D Picknell in District 9, at the very north boundary (with Chelsea) across from the Smith Family Cemetery and the school. Comparing 1877 with 2013 Google Earth imagery, their property appears to be across from Larkin Road where it intersects with Bicknell Road. (E Bicknell – perhaps Ellery Bicknell lived up the road, so it was probably named after him and not a misprint of Picknell.)

Daniel died at age 86 of cancer in Tunbridge on 2 Aug 1878. Lurena died at age 70 on 20 Jan 1894 in Tunbridge, of pneumonia. Both are buried at Hunt Cemetery in Tunbridge, and have memorials on Find-A-Grave.

I did not find out what happened to Daniel Plummer, the father of Lurena’s first two children. There was a person of that name in the 1840 census in the same county, but I don’t know if that was the correct person. There was a Daniel Plummer in Gloucester MA, with a wife coincidentally named Lurana T, but she was proven to be Lurana Thayer Riggs, so he is most likely not the father of Lurena Corey’s children. It is possible that Daniel Picknell chose to use the alias of Plummer after he got out of prison. I don’t know when his first wife died, nor why he didn’t marry Lurena for at least eight years after they were together, but perhaps he wasn’t free to marry.  As usual, researching results in answers, and more questions and mysteries to solve.

Phineas Blood Taylor and his Families

Phineas Blood Taylor was born 24 October 1820, in Nova Scotia, the fourth child of Bennett Ingraham Taylor and Eleanor Blood Morton. His father was a highly respected pastor of the Baptist church in the Lunenberg and nearby Barrs Corner area of Nova Scotia, probably of Loyalist descent, while the Mortons were Planters who came to Nova Scotia before the American Revolutionary War.

Phineas married Sarah A Joyce, and according to the Chute Genealogy (William Chute),  they had six children (not named by Chute.) I think there were actually seven.

Phineas was in the 1861 Canada census in Cumberland County. The census only named heads of household, and his household had 3 males and 6 females, one of which was under the age of one. These statistics would match up to Phineas and sons William and Thomas, and his wife Sarah and daughters Mary, Eleanor, Alveretta, Catherine (also called Cassie), and baby Susan. The 1861 census is the last primary record that we know refers to Phineas, son of Bennett.

Other records helped confirm the family group. For example, son William’s death record names his mother, Sarah Joyce, but not his father. Mary’s marriage record to Edward Gould names both parents, but doesn’t say whether her father is still living at the time of this marriage. Eleanor’s marriage record to James Chandler names both parents, as does the marriage record for Alveretta (or Alfaretta) to Henry Smith.

Sarah Taylor was the head of the household in 1871, and the family included William, Cassie, Thomas and Susan, as well as married daughter Eleanor and her family. Notes written in the remarks column of the census sheet indicate that Sarah’s husband left 10 years ago and hasn’t returned. Perhaps she wasn’t sure whether to count him in the household, but the census did list her as married.

In 1881, Sarah reported that she was widowed. She lived with her daughter Susan Jeffers and family. In 1891, she lived at River Hébert with her son William and his family. The household included her widowed daughter Susan and the Jeffers children. In 1901, Sarah lived with her Jeffers grandchildren. Sarah died in 1907.

So what happened to her husband Phineas? Family lore is that he left Nova Scotia to go to Kansas to work in the wheat harvest, and never returned.

The 1875 Kansas state census lists a Phineas Taylor born about 1820 in Nova Scotia. Phineas was a farmer, and the household included Melinda J (probably an error, as she is called Melissa J in later records) age 32, housewife born in New Jersey, and Phineas Jr age 6, born in Kansas, “at school”. They lived in Paola, Miami County, Kansas. I have been unable to find a birth record for Phineas Jr. Family Search has Kansas marriage records on line. They do not have a searchable index, but the marriage books each have a printed index in the front. I was not able to find Phineas marrying in Miami County. I also was not able to find this family in the 1870 US (or 1871 Canada) census.

The same family group was in the 1880 census in Paola. Phineas was age 60, and a laborer. His wife was Melissa, born in New Jersey, with son Phineas, age 11, born in Kansas. The household included boarders Clara Hackett and Thomas Shillinglaw. A fairly well documented family tree on Ancestry says that Phineas died 27 Jun 1881 in Paola, although there is not an attached primary source for that event. There are also trees with a daughter, Margery, but no vital records attached to her name, and she doesn’t show up in the census family groups.  Since the family was counted in either the state or federal census every five years, it is likely that she died as a small child.

Kansas marriage records indicate that on 12 October 1882, Mrs. M. J. Taylor married L. F. Laird at Paola. Her prior marital status (widowed or divorced) is not listed. Her new husband was Lafrayne F Laird, a divorced stock raiser originally from Missouri. The 1885 state census lists LF Laird, MJ Laird, Lucy W age 2 months, and Phineas Taylor, age 16.

In 1889, Phineas Jr married Minnie Reifel in Paola. This record lists his parents as Phineas, and Melissa J Hawkins. She may be the Melissa J who is daughter of John Hawkins and Amanda Van Etten, as listed in 1860 census in Avon, Rock, Wisconsin. That Melissa married Charles Allen Sweet on 21 October 1862 in Rock County, Wisconsin. He remarried three years later – but was that due to divorce or death? Some on-line family trees say that this Melissa died after giving birth to daughter Addie, but no records are attached to prove this.  I have not yet found paperwork to show that Phineas Jr’s mother is that same Melissa Hawkins, but age and birth location make it likely.

The 1895 Kansas State Census lists Phineas Jr, his wife and children in Paola. Melissa Laird is with her husband, and daughter Lucy, in the same town.

The 1900 census shows Phineas Jr and his expanding family still in Paola, while the Lairds are in nearby Marysville.  Melissa reported being mother of four, with three still living.  This would correspond with Addie, Phineas, and Lucy, and Margery who died young, if this is the same Melissa.

In 1905, “Phin” and family are still in Paola, and LF and MJ Laird are in Marysville. Lucy had married by then, but died in 1905.

By 1910, Phineas Jr had moved his family to Oakland, CA, where he worked as a carpenter. He was counted there as late as the 1930 census, and the California Death Index lists a Phineas Taylor born about 1868 who died in Alameda CA on 20 March 1937.

Melissa Laird was listed in the 1910 census in Marysville Kansas, widowed, reporting four children born, two still living (Addie and Phineas – if this is the correct person).   She was also there in 1920.   I do not have a death date for her but did not find her in 1930.

Family lore is that Phineas’ son Thomas also left Nova Scotia and went west looking for his father, and he was never heard of again. Thomas was in Nova Scotia at the time of the 1871 and 1881 censuses. If Phineas really did die in 1881, then he may have died before Thomas even started looking for him. The obituary for Thomas’ brother William lists William’s surviving sisters, but doesn’t list Thomas as a “survived by”, so he may have died before William (1919) or he was just missing, status unknown. An unsourced tree on Ancestry lists Thomas as having a wife named Nancy Wait.

I sent a research request in to the historical society where Phineas and Melissa lived, but have not yet heard back from them.  I’m hoping that they will have information that will positively identify Phineas and Melissa.

Tristram B. Bailey

Tristram B. Bailey was the ninth of eleven children born to Timothy Bailey and Henrietta Blood. Variations of his first name include Tristin, Tristum, Tristrum, and Tristam. It is thought that his middle initial may stand for Bartlett because a granduncle was named Tristram Bartlett Bailey, b.12 April 1754, d. 7 June 1761 (Bailey Genealogy: James John and Thomas… by Gertrude E. Bailey, 1899, pg. 17). He often was referred to as T.B. Bailey in newspaper accounts.

Tristram was born 30 May 1830 and died 10 December 1889, both events occurring in Andover, MA. His siblings were Timothy (b. 29 November 1812), James (b. 2 September 1814, d. 12 July 1842 “died in Oregon Territory”- gravestone inscription, West Parish Garden Cemetery, Andover, MA. It is not known if his actual remains are buried in MA or if the stone is only a memorial), Henrietta (b.5 October 1816), Ebenezer (b. 10 April 1819, d. 24 September 1847), Rebecca (b. 16 April 1821), Rufus R. (b. 9 August 1823, d. 10 July 1911), Rachel (b. 11 December 1825), Warren A. (b. 9 July 1828, d. 2 May 1909), Roxanna (b. 26 June 1833), and Henry H. (b. 21 January 1835).

Tristram descended from three known supporters of the Revolutionary War. His paternal grandfather, William Bailey (b.13 February 1747, d. 12 March 1836) was a private under Col. Bridge and Capt. Frubush in Massachusetts. Tristram’s maternal grandfather, Royal Blood (b. 8 October 1758, d. 24 May 1825) served as a private under Capt. Aaron Jewett, Capt. Joshua Lealand, and Capt. John Porter as well as being a Marine on the frigate “Deane”. Royal’s military service started in 1777 and ended after 1782. Lastly, Tristram’s great grandfather, Joseph Blood (b. 8 May 1709, d. 5 January 1794) was a surveyor for the colonies.

Pamelia Emma Frye was Tristram’s first wife. Pamelia had been previously married to Nathan Bailey (b.28 April 1816, d. 8 January 1854, marriage to Pamelia 6 April 1839) who was believed to be some type of cousin to Tristram. Pamelia was literally “the girl next door”. In the 1855 Massachusetts State census Pamelia was living with her in-laws, Nathan Bailey, Sr. and Cloe, next door to Tristram and his parents. Tristram and Pamelia married 1 January 1856 in Methuen, MA. Pamelia also descended from Revolutionary War supporters. Her paternal grandfather and great grandfather, James Frye and Col. James Frye as well as her maternal grandfather, Seth Emerson all served in the military on the colonial side of the war.

Tristram and Pamelia were living in Andover, MA in 1860 and Tristram was the Superintendant of a Poor House. Mary A. Townsend was their servant. Emma Frances Bailey was born to the couple 12 December 1860. Pamelia died 22 June 1861, a little over six months after giving birth to Emma. Eight months later Tristram married his servant, Mary Augusta Townsend, 18 February 1862.

Mary and Tristram went on to have three children: James Henry Bailey (b. 3 June 1864 Andover, MA; d. 30 September 1936 Portland, OR), Mary Pamelia Bailey (b. 19 July 1867 Andover, MA; d. 6 October 1901 Lawrence, MA), Eben Elijah Bailey (b. 6 June 1869 Andover, MA). Emma had known no other mother than Mary and she lists Mary as her mother on her marriage certificates (there were two). It appears that she and her half-siblings were close.

Tristram was living in Andover, MA in the Federal Census for the years 1850, 1860, and 1870. In addition, he appears in the Massachusetts State Census for the years 1855 and 1865. With the exception of the 1860 census where he was a Superintendent of a Poor House, Tristram was a farmer, as was his father, Timothy. Though Tristram registered for the Civil War draft 18 June 1860 in Andover, MA no evidence has been found that he served in the military.

By 1875 city directory entries for Lawrence, MA indicate Tristram moved his family to Lawrence and started a laundry at 4 Water Street. The 1880 Federal Census reveals that Mary A. (Townsend) Bailey believed she was a widow but she continued to run the laundry at 4 Water Street in Lawrence with her two girls, Emma Frances and Mary Pamelia. The youngest son, Eben, was living with Tristram’s brother, Rufus, in Andover, MA.

Tristram and James turn up in the 1880 census in the Upper Deer Lodge Valley of Montana Territory. Tristram is listed as a farmer. His immediate neighbor is W.R.H. Edwards who homesteaded property near Anaconda, MT. An article in the New Northwest paper (7 May 1880) states Tristram had been involved in a “difficulty over a ranche” during which he was assaulted by Harry Eccleson and received a broken nose. Mr. “Eccleson was fined $10 plus costs”.

Further investigation of newspaper accounts and land records suggests Tristram first arrived in Montana Territory prior to 1 May 1876 when he sold his 1/5th share in a mining claim Lot 63, Fairweather Gulch, Moose Creek mining district south of Butte, MT. The purchaser was Joseph V. Suprenant. The date that he and the other four men first filed on the claim has not yet been determined.

The Butte Miner reported on 29 May 1877 “T.B. Bailey, who left here several months ago for a visit to his home in Massachusetts, returned to Butte last week, accompanied by several persons from his neighborhood. Mr. Bailey expects to make this his home now and will send for his family shortly.” Tristram sold property in the city of Butte located at the south east corner of the Mercury Street and Montana Street intersection (lot 19, block 51) on 26 May 1877. James Talbott, a local banker, was the purchaser. The year, 1877, was the year the city was platted. It is not known when Tristram acquired the property.

On 11 July 1877 Tristram again filed with four other men on another mining claim near the one he sold. The partners were Joseph V. Suprenant, Benjamin F. McElroy, Patrick J. Hamilton, and Andrew J. Grubb. The claim was Lot 43, Fairweather Gulch, Moose Creek mining district, Deer Lodge Co. (later known as Silver Bow Co.). It is not known if Tristram did any actual mining work or if he was a silent partner but by 1880 it appears he returned to farming which was the work he knew best.

It is important to understand the historical context of Tristram’s time. General George Custer lost his life and regiment at the Little Big Horn 25 June 1876 and the Battle of the Big Hole occurred 9-10 August 1877 in an area east of the Bitterroot Mountains and south east of Missoula, MT. The newspapers of the time were filled with stories of Indian hostilities.

Tristram or at least James, his son, returned to Massachusetts sometime before August 1882. A local newspaper reported that the husband of James’s half-sister, Emma Frances, drowned during a swimming accident on the Merimack River. Silas D. Daland (b. 1855, d. 13 August 1882), Emma’s husband, was swimming in the river while Emma watched from a boat. He became disabled by a cramp, shouting for help. Emma’s brothers, Eben and James, are both named in the article as attempting to rescue Silas but without success. Silas and Emma had been married less than eight weeks.

Another newspaper article in the Boston Daily Advertiser 25 November 1886 describes an event placing Tristram in North Andover, MA during that year. “T.B. Bailey, a farmer of North Andover, while digging on his farm,…” discovered a skeleton likely from a man who went missing 20 years before. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.

Tristram died 1 January 1889 in North Andover, MA of “congestion of the liver”. His obituary described him as “a well known and much liked citizen” who was “of far more than ordinary ability, and well posted” (Lawrence American, 7 January 1889). It is thought that “well posted” means well traveled. Tristram’s remains were buried in the West Parish Garden Cemetery, Andover, MA, near his first wife’s grave. Though Mary A. (Townsend) Bailey remarried (John Aiken Shirley) she was buried with Tristram upon her death (or at least her name is on his headstone).

Tristram never moved his family to Montana but it appears that his son, James Henry, did return before 1885. James H. Bailey appears in the 1900 Federal Census living with his wife and children in Lewistown, MT. (It is important to note that James does NOT appear in Massachusetts records after 1882.) The James in the 1900 census was born in Massachusetts, as were his parents, and he was a plasterer. He was married to Mary Frances Butland. James appeared in the 1885 Butte school census with his first two children, Ernest (b. 1884, MT) and Ethel (b.1885 White Sulfur Springs, MT). He and Mary went on to have six more children: Augusta Valerie (b. 1887 Butte, MT), Myrtle L. (b. 1888, MT), Pansy (b. 1889, Anaconda, MT), James Archie (b. 1890, Oaksdale, WA), Leonard Leroy (b. 1893, Idaho), and Ralph (b. 1897, MT). Mary Frances died in 1901 and was buried in the Lewistown Cemetery.

James was gone from Lewistown by 1904. His youngest children were under the custody of the husband of James’s eldest daughter, Ethel, and another individual named Bailey who’s relationship to the family has not been determined. By 1910, James H. Bailey, a plasterer who was born in Massachusetts, appears in the Federal Census living in Post Falls, ID. He is married to Elizabeth Alice (Belles) Kibler, Wagstaff, Wright. They had a son named Melvin Lewis who was born 12 November 1905, Lewiston, ID. Melvin’s birth index entry gives the full name of both his parents.

No entry for James has been located for the 1920 Federal Census, though a 1917 city directory entry places a plaster with his name in Butte, MT. The 1930 Federal Census shows James H. Bailey, a plasterer, who was born in Massachusetts, living in Mt. Pleasant, OR outside of Portland. James had married a third time to Julia Etta (Parker) VanBlaricom. City directory entries indicate he lived in the Portland area until he died 30 September 1936. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Greenwood Hills Cemetery, Portland, OR. None of the three marriage records for James have been found. The early marriage records for Montana did not include the parents of the bride and groom and would be of little value confirming parentage. However, a photograph of James H. Bailey and Julia E. Bailey was discovered among the papers of James’s half- sister, Emma Frances, who lived in Lawrence, MA. The photograph had been taken by Sowell Studio, 113 1/2 Third Street, Portland, OR.

When and why Tristram and his son went to Montana is an interesting question. Tristram’s brother Timothy had a son named Charles Warren Bailey who was supposed to have been a soldier in Montana and later settled in Minnesota. Tristram’s brother, James, died in Oregon Territory when Tristram was only 12 years old. The lure of rich mining claims and free land probably had an influence. Perhaps he saw himself getting older and wanted an adventure before he died. It will likely never be known with certainty why he took such a huge risk, but contemplating his reasons projects the reader back in time to an exciting era of United States history. A time which will never be equaled.

(sources: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1930 Federal Census records; 1855, 1865 Massachusetts State Census records; Bailey Genealogy: James John and Thomas, and their Descendants in Three Parts by Gertrude E. Bailey, 1899; birth, marriage & death records for Tristram’s grandparents, parents & siblings in Massachusetts; birth, marriage & death records for Pamelia and her parents, grandparents & great grandparents in Massachusetts; birth, marriage and death records for Tristram B. Bailey, Pamelia Frye, Mary A. Townsend and their children in Massachusetts; various birth, marriage & death records for James H. Bailey’s children in MT, ID & WA; school census records for Butte [Butte Public Archive] & Lewistown, MT; Lewistown Cemetery records; land records and deed from the Butte & Anaconda courthouses; newspaper articles from Boston & Lawrence, MA; newspaper articles from The Butte Miner and The New Northwest; City Directories for Lawrence, MA, Butte, MT & Portland, OR; Civil War draft registration for Andover, MA; family photograph of James & Julia Bailey)

[Story written and shared by Tristram’s descendant Barbara S – comments and connections will be forwarded back to her.  Barbara and I are probably about 7th cousins through the Blood surname, which is an ancestor in my Hodges tree.]

Albert Warren Smith and Lucinda Priscilla Stone – Updated

Albert Warren Smith was born 2 September 1843, the second son of Joseph and Harriet (Newell) Smith, in Ipswich MA. Joseph was a cordwainer, which is a shoemaker. The index lists his middle name as Marion, but I believe this was a transcription error from Warren. The 1850 census says “Warren”. Joseph had a brother Warren who died as an infant, and his adopted daughter Josie Smith’s first son was Albert Warren Hodges.

Albert is in the 1860 census at home with his parents, occupation is brick mason. I found no records to indicate that he served in the Civil War.

Albert moved to Lynn MA. On 25 December 1867, he married Lucinda Priscilla Stone, daughter of William and Mary (Hodges Lewis) Stone. Since our Hodges family came from Ireland, and didn’t start moving to Massachusetts until later than this, I do not believe we are related to this branch of Hodges family – at least back to Europe. All subsequent records for Albert indicate that he lived the rest of his life in Lynn.

I had originally believed that Albert and Lucinda Priscilla had no children of their own, but with the release of new records at, I found that not to be the case. Their first child was Willie A, born 6 February, and died 25 August 1869 in Lynn. Willie’s cause of death was listed as teething. Teething used to be considered a cause of death, as many children died in the first year of life, the same time as teething occurs. In retrospect, some “teething” deaths may be what we would now call SIDS. Also, the treatment for teething sometimes involved lancing the gums with an instrument, or even a mother’s fingernail, to allow the teeth through, and this lancing may have led to infection. Rather than fever from teething, Willie may have cholera infantum, perhaps from drinking contaminated milk.

In 1870, Albert and Lucinda’s census record indicates that their real estate was valued at $2000, with personal property listed at $600. This would include household belongings as well as his tools from his work as a mason.

The second son, Lewis A, was born about January 1 1871, and the third son, Fred S, was born 14 April 1872. Both boys died on 22 July 1872, of cholera infantum. The fourth son, Charles W, was born about 23 May, and died 18 August, 1874. His cause of death was also cholera infantum. While having two children die the same day of the same disease might indicate contagion, in fact, this was a noncontagious disease, usually occurring in summer or autumn. It was common among the poor and in hand-fed babies. These babies were often fed mixtures of bread or flour and water, sometimes with cow’s milk which might be infected or vitamin deficient. The later development of nutritionally balanced food and proper disinfection in milk production and baby bottles greatly reduced infant mortality. A fifth son, apparently not named, was stillborn on the one-year anniversary of baby Charles’ death – 18 August 1875. A sixth son was stillborn on 14 September 1876.

The Smith family lived on Larrabee Court and Albert continued his work as a mason. Because all six boys were born and died between censuses, I did not know of their existence until this group of Massachusetts death records was released. All were buried at Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn.

The 1880 census lists Albert and Lucinda living at 7 Larrabee Street. His occupation was listed as brick mason. Sometime after the 1880 census, Albert’s niece Josie (daughter of George) came to live with them. In 1886 and 1887, they lived at #1 Stone place. Lucinda died 28 September 1887, and is buried at Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn. Her cause of death was apoplexy, which today would probably be called a stroke. She was only 43.

A year later, on 5 September 1888, Albert married Mary Elizabeth Thompson, ex-wife of Amos Breed, and daughter of Robert Thompson and Lydia Newhall. They lived at 5 Stone Place. They were there through 1890, but by 1893, were living at 119 Holyoke. The 1894 Lynn city directory lists Albert Smith as a trustee at the South-Street Methodist Church – his adopted daughter Josie’s husband Frank Hodges was later trustee at that same church. Josie’s soon to be husband lived in the adjacent house. The 1900 census, and Lynn city directories continue to list Albert W Smith, mason, at 119 Holyoke, through the 1906 edition, which documented his death on 3 August 1905. Albert died of stomach cancer, and was buried at Pine Grove Cemetery.

Albert’s widow Mary moved to 25 Walnut street, and was listed in the city directory as late as 1919. The 1920 Lynn city directory reported that Mary died 29 April 1919. Her death certificate shows that her cause of death was malignant disease of the liver, and she was also buried at Pine Grove Cemetery.

Charles Winfield Chick 1889 – 1958

Charles Chick was born 13 November 1889 in Kittery, Maine. His parents were Caleb W Chick and Augusta Almeda Eaton, who had been married in Portsmouth, NH on 26 January 1889. In 1900, the family lived in Kittery, where Caleb worked as a coppersmith.

On 1 September 1907, Charles married Rosie M Keen in Revere, Massachusetts. Rosie was born about 1891 in Amesbury, MA, daughter of Nathaniel Keen and Rose Burcham. This was listed as the first marriage for both. Charles was a resident of Biddeford, ME, occupation spindle straitner (sic). Rose was “at home”.

Charles enlisted in the US Navy Reserve on 9 August 1909. The 1910 census lists Charles with other crew members of the USS Hancock, and says that he has been married 3 years. His occupation appears to be “coal passer”. The census is recorded in Kings County, New York, so perhaps his ship was in port there at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I have not yet been able to find Rose Chick in the 1910 census, nor in any subsequent vital records.

Charles’ later pension application names his ships – they are in alphabetical order, so I am not sure exactly when he was on which ship. The USS Camden was a cargo ship, then submarine tender. The Constellation was a sloop-of-war that pre-dates the Civil War. During WW1, it was a training ship. The Hancock was a transport ship. The Rappahannock served in the North Atlantic, delivering animals, such as horses and cattle, to the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe. The Topeka had seen action in the Spanish American War, then was assigned as a station ship at Portsmouth NH. The ship also served there as a prison ship, then was recommissioned and moved briefly to New York, then back to Portsmouth to serve as a training ship during WW1. The Southery was originally a collier, but was converted to a prison ship, and was in the Portsmouth NH area from about 1903 to 1922.  On 13 September, 1911, Charles received an honorable discharge from USNR. He reenlisted on 6 Apr 1917.

On 6 May 1919, Charles married Loretta E Anderson, in Biddeford, ME. She was born about 1895 in Saint Johns, New Brunswick, the daughter of Charles H Anderson and Mary J Sinclair. This record is somewhat confusing as it lists Caleb and Almeda as residents of Brooklyn, NH, but lists Charles as born in Brooklyn, NH. I suspect that Brooklyn NY was his place of residence, as he was still with the USNR at the time. The occupations for the groom and bride were not listed. Charles received a second honorable discharge on 14 June 1919.

The 1920 census lists Charles Chick, and Mrs. Charles Chick, living in Portsmouth, NH, next door to his father and other family members. Charles was a machinist, although I cannot read the company name. The 1920 city directory also lists them, living at 502 Market. The 1923 Lynn MA city directory lists a Charles and Laura Chick living at 62 Spencer, but also lists a Charles W Chick, no wife listed, machinist, at 311 Summer in Lynn. I think that Charles was listed twice.  Coincidentally, Mrs. Hilda Wizard was also listed in the 1923 Lynn city directory at 311 Sumner. Perhaps Charles was in the process of moving away from Loretta/Laura, and connecting with Hilda.  The reverse directory lists this as a lodging house run by Annie Thomas.

On 2 May 1923, Charles married Hilda J (Beasley) Wizard, in Maine. The index does not list the parents of the couple, nor occupations. Hilda was the daughter of George H Beasley and Lilly Barradell, and was born in Australia (her parents were both born in England.) Hilda had previously been married to John Walter Wizard (also known as Hamidas (or Hormidas) Wizard. He had died the year before. Hilda had three children from her previous marriage: Hilda Jane, Evelyn Alma, and Homidas.  Charles and Hilda may have had three daughters together (it is not clear whether these are his daughters, or daughters of Hilda’s next husband.) Geneva was born in 1925. Two other daughters were born after Geneva, but are still living, so are not listed here. Charles’ military record lists a third discharge date of 27 October, 1927. It is unclear whether he extended his second enlistment, or had another re-enlistment.

From the New Castle News, New Castle, PA, 29 Apr 1929 – page 1 and 2: ACCUSES HUSBAND OF HAVING OTHER WIVES LYNN, Mass April 29 Pleading not guilty to a charge of polygamy, Charles Winfield Chick, 39, able seaman aboard the USS Accomac during the World War and now an every day mechanic was arraigned before Judge Ralph W Reeves in district court today and was held on $2,500 bail for a hearing May 7th. He married wife No. 4 at Youngstown, O., following a courtship which police alleged consisted chiefly of reading biblical and other quotations to the effect that if a man and a woman cannot agree after marriage he shall go to the farthest corner of the earth and find another woman and she shall likewise do the same. The quotations were inscribed on the invitation to the wedding at Youngstown, Ohio, between Chick and Miss Ethel Lishon of that city, the complaint against her husband. The quotation, according to police, was also inscribed on a license issued by a justice of the peace. The invitation was elaborately printed as for a society event, bearing besides the names of the wedding couple and guests, a half-tone photograph of Rev. Levi G. Batman, of Youngstown who performed the ceremony. Mrs. Ethel Chick said her suspicions were aroused a few weeks ago when she discovered letters indicating that besides the four wives on record Chick had wives in Pensacola, Fla., the Panama Canal Zone, Cuba, and France. Mrs. Ethel Chick was in court today and after the arraignment held a long conference with her husband. Acting on information give them by the former Youngstown girl, police had traced Chick to a home in West Lynn, where they assert they found him, holding the hand of another prospective bride and reading her the quotation inscribed on the wedding invitation of Miss Lishon. The police investigation as [?] was stated at police headquarters, revealed the following list of wives:
No. 1 – Miss Rose Keene, married at Biddeford, Me, in 1911 and divorced at Alfred, Me.
No. 2 – Miss Laura Anderson of Everett, date of wedding undetermined and her present whereabouts unknown.
No. 3 – Miss Hilda Wizard, native of New South Wales, married at Kittery, Me. In 1923. She is now living in Portsmouth, N.H., and told police she was deserted by Chick and was ready to testify against him.
No. 4 – Miss Ethel Lishon, married in Youngstown, O., May 7, 1928. She is now living here.
Since his arrest Sunday Chick has eaten nothing except beef stews ordered from a restaurant near police headquarters. He was removed to Salem jail in default of Bail.

A story printed in the Montana Standard, Butte, MT on April 30, 1929, included the following: FIVE WIVES WILL TESTIFY AGAINST PRINCE OF LOVERS – LYNN, Mass., April 29 (UP) The national convention of the “wives of Charles W Chick, 35, was set by Judge Ralph S Reeve today for May 7, at which time police expect to have five “Mrs. Chicks” on hand to support a polygamy charge against the former sailor. Chick’s bail was fixed at $2,500 at a preliminary hearing while police listed the result of his various ports [?] as follows:
No. 1 – Mrs. Rose (Keen) Chick, Biddeford, Me.
No. 2 – Mrs. Laura (Anderson) Chick, Biddeford, Me.
No. 3 – A woman whose name was withheld by police.
No. 4 – Mrs. Hilda (Wizard) Chick, Kittery, Me.
No. 5 – Mrs. Ethel (Leyshon) Chick, Lynn.
Chick described himself as a former chief engineer in the navy. One of his “wives” spoke of him as “the prince of all lovers.”

The Ogden Standard-Examiner, of Ogden, Utah, printed the outcome of the charges on 23 May 1929. SAILOR CONFESSES TO SEVEN WIVES SALEM, Mass May 23 (AP) Charles W Chick, a sailor and possessor of seven wives, pleaded guilty to polygamy in superior criminal court here Wednesday and was sentenced to a year in the house of correction. He was arrested on complaint of wife No. 7, who said he had failed to support her. Two of his seven wives testified against him. Mrs. Ethel Leyson Chick said she married him in Youngstown, O., a year ago. Mrs. Hilda Wizard of Portsmouth, N.H., testified she left Chick because he was cruel to her. The other wives named in court were: Loretta Chick of Pasadena, Cal.; Rose Keene Chick and Laura Anderson Chick, both of Biddeford, Me.; Yvonne Chick of Paris, France, and Leona Chick of Pensacola, Fla. 

I did not locate a record for the marriage to Leona but did locate a marriage of Charles W Chick on 27 February 1927 in Tampa, to a Gertrude Whitten. The index doesn’t list parents’ names, occupations, or ages, but one has to wonder…especially since I did not find a household in the 1930 census for this for this couple. Chick was out of prison in time to be counted in the 1930 census in Kennebunk, Maine, with his mother and members of her extended family. Charles reported himself divorced, no occupation listed.

On 30 March, 1931, Charles married Myrtle Coolbrith (married name Brown) in Portsmouth, NH. This index entry does not list occupations, ages, or parents for either.

On 29 August 1932, Charles applied for a military pension. This index card is hard to read, but lists his ship’s names: Camden, Constellation, Hancock, Rappahannock, Quail, Southery, and Topeka.

On 20 September, 1935, in Portsmouth, NH, Charles married Florence D Myers. She was born about 1887 in Saco, Maine, daughter of Alden J Myers and Clara Jameson. The groom reported he was widowed, the bride divorced. He was a machinist, she was a reporter. This was listed as the groom’s fourth marriage, although I count five previous wives (Rosie, Loretta, Hilda, Ethel and Myrtle plus of course Yvonne and Leona and maybe even Gertrude).

In the 1940 census, Charles was living in Bath, Maine, boarding with Mildred Landers. Both were listed as divorced, and both reported that in 1935, they were living in Boston. Charles was a lathe machinist, engaged in shipbuilding. Mildred did not have an occupation listed. Her social security application record gives her maiden name as Sidelinger, and alias names as Landers and Chick.  She is the ex wife of John Landers, as they were listed in the Boston directory in 1935 (41 Mall, Roxbury).   Sometime after 1940, Charles married Mildred, his landlady listed in the 1940 census. The 1944 Portland city directory lists them at 40 Melbourne, employed by NESCo. In 1949 they were in Bath, ME, where he was a machinist with WH Co, residing at 104 Academy.  The 1950 Biddeford city directory lists Charles W and Mildred E Chick residing at 27 Elm. Occupation was superintendent at SLS, but I don’t know what that company was.

Charles died 11 September 1958, and Mildred Chick applied for a military headstone for him. He was buried at Sandy Point Cemetery, in Maine.

I do not know what became of most of the wives. Hilda remarried twice more, and had two more daughters. Mildred outlived Charles, as she made the request for his military headstone. She died in 1993 and is also buried at Sandy Point. Other than his possible daughters with Hilda, I found no reference to other children.

UPDATED 22 October 2015

« Older entries Newer entries »