Memorial Day in Dublin and Rindge

On Memorial Day we took a trip north to Dublin and Rindge to check out some of the items I learned since my last visit there last fall, and, of course, to visit the cemeteries. After bypassing parades and other observances in Brookfield, North Brookfield, Barre, and Jaffrey, we finally arrived in Dublin, only to get stuck in the traffic backed up behind their parade. It worked out well, though, because we ended up stopped in front of the Historical Society.

I knew from my correspondence with Dublin Town Archivist Nancy Campbell that Rufus Cogswell’s name was inscribed on the monument, which is located in front of the Society’s building, so we stopped to take a look. The monument lists the dates and locations of the soldiers’ deaths along with their names, and sure enough, Rufus was there:

By now the traffic had started flowing again, and we continued through the center of town to the cemetery, just to the west, overlooking Dublin Pond, with Mount Monadnock in the background. When I visited the cemetery last October, I was mainly looking for the graves of Stephen and Lucy Cogswell; and Leonard and Lydia (Cogswell) Smith. I didn’t know anything about Rufus Cogswell at the time. Scanning the gravestones for Smiths and Cogswells, I had come upon the stone for Elmira Cogswell- another Cogswell I’d never heard of before. I took a picture of the stone just in case, and a bit later, found the Cogswell and Smith graves I’d been looking for. It wasn’t until later that I pieced together the facts about Elmira- that she had been married to a man named James Moore, that they had two sons and a daughter before Moore died in 1855 at the age of 37. Then, by 1860, Elmira married again- this time to Rufus Cogswell, son of Stephen and Lucy, and brother of my third great grandmother, Lydia (Cogswell) Smith. In 1862, after fathering two sons, Rufus joined the Union Army, and died two weeks later.

Dublin NH Cemetery
Dublin NH Cemetery
Knowing all that, I was a bit more observant on this trip, and found that Elmira, although not buried with the Cogswells and Smiths, was buried next to her first husband, James Moore. In the same plot were Elmira and Rufus’s son Milton, who died at the age of 16 in 1878, and Abigail Moore, James Moore’s mother. Interestingly, Abigail and Elmira had the same maiden name, Knowlton. It turns out that James Moore and his wife Elmira both had a grandfather named John Knowlton from Holliston Massachusetts, who had moved to Dublin in the late 1700’s. But they were two different John Knowltons! James Moore’s maternal grandfather was Deacon John Knowlton, born in Holliston in 1745. Elmira’s paternal grandfather was just plain John Knowlton, born in Holliston (or possibly Medway) in 1763. And just to make things even more involved, both John Knowltons married women from Holliston named Jennings- Martha for the Deacon, Susannah for just plain John. You have to figure there was a fair amount of relatedness there!

After visiting the cemetery, we headed south from Dublin on Upper Jaffrey Road, which skirts the eastern slope of Monadnock. About halfway to Jaffrey we turned right on Burpee Road to look for the Harrington’s farm. (Click here for background on the Harringtons.) George Smith Harrington and Margaret (Smith) Harrington moved here in the 1860’s, shortly after the Cogswells and Smiths. We followed the unpaved road to its end, which, on the GPS, matched the location of the Harrington farm on the old maps. There is a modern house there now, but there’s a great view to the east of Pack Monadnock, and of course Grand Monadnock itself looms over the property to the west. This was where George’s son Leonard continued to farm after his parents’ deaths, and Leonard’s son Clarence was apparently still farming into the 1940’s. It’s not difficult to get to now, but driving up the steep unpaved road made me wonder what it must have been like living there in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Our last stop was the Hillside Cemetery in Rindge, last resting place for our great grand parents, Daniel and Mary Alice Dunn and several of their children. Mom remembers going there often on Memorial Days, and it would have been her and Uncle Bud’s only real connection with their grandparents, all of whom had passed away before they (Mom and Bud) were born.

On this day, May 21, 1843

Today is the 165th anniversary of the death of Solomon Shippey, one of my 4th great grandfathers. Solomon’s daughter Ruth married John Smith. Leonard Smith was their son. Solomon is, so far, the only ancestor I’ve come across who fought in the American Revolution.

Solomon was the grandson of David Shippe, the first of the family known to have settled in the Rhode Island colony, sometime prior to 1664. (Solomon’s parents were first cousins, so David was Solomon’s paternal as well as maternal grandfather).

Solomon was born in Scituate, Rhode Island in about 1749. His Revolutionary War service, as well as the date of his death, is documented in a Treasury Department ledger, which says he began receiving an annual allowance of $51.66 in 1831, when he was already 82 years old. The ledger also records that the balance due on the pension at the time of hs death was paid to “Ruth Smith”.

Death records- finally!

I finally got the correct death certificates from New Hampshire, which included the records for Daniel and Mary Alice Dunn, as well as Carl Dunn, Grandfather Dunn’s twin brother. The certificates cleared up a number of questions:

  • Because Daniel passed away in 1918, at the tail end of the influenza epidemic, I’d wondered if he had died of influenza. It turns out the cause of death was actually heart disease. (Daniel died on Halloween- last Wednesday was the eighty ninth anniversary of his death).
  • Daniel’s death certificate says that he was a resident of Rindge for 28 years, which means he and Mary Alice were residents at the time of the 1892 map, so maybe they’re on there somewhere. Prior to that, they lived in Troy.
  • Mary Alice also died of heart disease- in her case, the specific cause is “mitral regurgitation”, a leak in the mitral valve of the heart.

The most surprising record was Carl’s. Carl was Grandfather Dunn’s identical twin. The story Mom and Uncle Bud heard was that Carl had died when he jumped off the roof of a barn holding an umbrella as a parachute. The death certificate says nothing about an accident of any kind. Carl’s cause of death is given as “paralysis”, said to have existed “since birth”. This explains, presumably, the trip to New York in 1908, just over a year before Carl’s death, when, according to the Fitchburg Sentinel, “Mrs. Daniel Dunn of East Rindge took her son, Carl, to New York, last week, for treatment at one of the leading hospitals of that city.”

Carl’s paralysis may have been a form of cerebral palsy, which can result from complications at birth, and occurs more often in twin births.

Re-mapping the ancestors

The 1877 map of Jaffrey mentioned in an earlier post suggested the location of the house where Mary Alice Dunn grew up, but I found an even better map this week. It’s a high quality scan from the 1892 D.H. Hurd atlas map of Jaffrey. In this image, the house at the corner of what is now Gilmore Pond Road and Old Fitzwilliam Road is clearly labeled “L.Smith”.

The collection also has a map of Rindge from the same atlas. The name Dunn doesn’t appear, so they may not have moved to Rindge yet- the first mention of Daniel as East Rindge’s blacksmith in the Fitchburg Sentinel is in 1896, and they didn’t purchase the East Rindge house until 1900. The house is readily identifiable, though, bearing the name of “J.H. Ballou”, who lived there before the Dunns.

Mapping the ancestors

Randy Seaver’s blog pointed me to a new collection of maps on “U.S. County Land Ownership Atlases, c. 1864-1918“. The same, or similar maps are sometimes available in used and antiquarian book stores, and in libraries. The maps are often removed from the atlas and offered for sale individually- the Ben Franklin Bookstore in Worcester has some in its print section.

It’s nice to be able to view these maps online- unfortunately, the quality leaves a lot to be desired. These are black and white microfilm images, rather than the high quality color scans used in, for example, the UNH topographic map collection.

On some of the maps, the colors used to shade various towns and villages show up as almost solid black, making it impossible to read any detail. And the resolution of the maps is very low- fine print, especially in densely settled areas can be unreadable.

Having said all that, the maps can still be really useful. This image is from the map covering Jaffrey and Rindge. This map was published in 1877, three years before the 1880 census which showed Daniel Dunn living on the farm of Frederick Spaulding as a hired laborer. Daniel’s entry is followed by those of the Bakers, Ballous, Underwoods and Goffs, all names visible on the map to the right of the “FSpaulding” label.

On the census form, the next name after Kendall Goff’s family is Leonard O. Smith, followed by Etta, Lucy Cogswell (Leonard’s widowed mother in law), and Mary Alice. There’s also a ‘boarder’, the seventeen year old Ella M. Allen, occupation ‘schoolteacher’. The Smiths don’t appear on the map, so it might be that their move from Peterborough, where they lived when the 1870 census was taken, hadn’t yet occurred. The residence labelled ‘C.A.Johnson’ on the map may be where the Smiths lived in 1880. It’s in the right spot in terms of the census form’s order. It also ties in with the address information in the 1885 Cheshire County Gazetteer, which has Frederick Spaulding listed as a farmer on road 28, while Leonard and his son Charles are listed as farming the property at the corner of roads 28 and 29. And just down the road, across from the pond, is the school where Ella probably taught.

Murder in Rindge!

One of the Fitchburg Sentinel articles quoted in ‘Dunns in the news’ mentions the fact that Archie Brown, the East Rindge ‘village blacksmith’, was giving up his business to move to Rindge Center “where he will assist Mrs. J. C. Wheeler at the Rindge Hotel, which is to be reopened soon”. The story doesn’t mention one of the reasons why Mrs. Wheeler may have needed help.

It turns out that Mr. J. C. Wheeler, the proprietor of the hotel, had been murdered the previous December, “almost in broad daylight, and right in the heart of an orderly and quiet New England village” in the words of a reporter for Keene’s New Hampshire Sentinel.

The murderer (the word ‘alleged’ never appears in the story) was one John Brunnell, “a worthless and notorious character”. He and a companion, Arthur McSoley, had been hauling wood for a farmer in Fitzwilliam earlier in the day. After being paid, Brunnell and McSoley were in the mood for a drink, and they stopped in East Jaffrey in search of liquor. Brunnell asked the local town agent for some alcohol “for use in treating a horse”. The agent was familiar with Brunnell and his fondness for drink, and so added an ounce of saltpeter to the half pint of alcohol he gave him, “thinking that would prevent Brunnell’s drinking the stuff”. He was wrong. Continue reading “Murder in Rindge!”

Daniel Dunn, Blacksmith

One of the interesting things to come from looking at all those Fitchburg Sentinel stories was the fact that Daniel Dunn was a blacksmith. His occupation is mentioned in the first item I came across, the sad news, in July 1896 that his ‘oldest child’, Reinald, had died. In March of 1900, the Sentinel notes that “Charles Duplease has sold his place in the village, formerly owned by John M. Ballou, to Daniel Dunn, the village blacksmith, who will occupy the premises.” They move in to the property in May, just in time for the birth of Mildred.

It would be interesting to know how Daniel came to be “the village blacksmith.” East Rindge had at least one blacksmith in 1885, Nathaniel Rideout. He’s the only blacksmith from East Rindge listed in the 1885 Cheshire County Gazetteer. Based on the 1880 census, Rideout was about 51 years old in 1880. He may have been close to the end of his smithing days by 1890, but since there are no records from the 1890 census, it’s hard to say. Rideout doesn’t appear in the 1900 census.

In any event, by 1892 East Rindge had another ‘village blacksmith’, Archie Brown. He turns up in a Sentinel story in June of that year noting that he would “give up his business here and remove to the hotel in the center where he will assist Mrs. J. C. Wheeler at the Rindge Hotel, which is to be reopened soon.”

Daniel apparently became ‘the village blacksmith’, then, sometime after the summer of 1892 and prior to July of 1896. Archie Brown and his wife Maggie eventually moved to Princeton, Massachusetts, where they appear on the 1910 census. By the time of the 1920 census, Daniel Dunn is dead, having passed away in 1918 at just 52 years of age. His wife Mary Alice appears, along with daughter Mildred. And just a few houses away is the listing for Archie Brown, blacksmith, and wife Maggie, back from Massachusetts.

Dunns in the news

It isn’t exactly front page copy, but these brief items from the Fitchburg Sentinel give you a glimpse into the story of the Dunns in Rindge:

July 29, 1896:

“The oldest child of Dan Dunn, the blacksmith at East Rindge, died quite suddenly, last week: the funeral was attended, Sunday, by Rev. Mr. Richardson.” 

March 14, 1900:

“Charles Duplease has sold his place in the village, formerly owned by John M. Ballou, to Daniel Dunn, the village blacksmith, who will occupy the premises.” 

May 4, 1900:

“Daniel Dunn has moved with his family into the house recently purchased of Charles Duplease. Mr. and Mrs. Dunn were made happy, last week, by the birth of a daughter.”

Continue reading “Dunns in the news”