Our family’s veterans from the Civil War and the Revolution

In the previous entry I wrote about members of our family who had served in the two world wars. We also have veterans who served in wars going at least as far back as the Revolution. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that some of our ancestors also served in the French and Indian War as well, since the Cogswells and Seavers were already well established in Massachusetts by that time, but I haven’t come across any records of that yet.

danmaryaliceRindgeBefore I started my research, of course, it wouldn’t have occurred to me that we’d even have had Civil War veterans in our past, since I assumed I was only a generation or two removed from Ireland in relation to all my ancestors. The person who changed that was Mom’s paternal grandmother, Mary Alice (Smith) Dunn. She’s the woman sitting in front of the home she and husband Daniel shared in Rindge, New Hampshire, where Daniel was the local blacksmith. Mary Alice’s father was Leonard O. Smith, born in Foster, Rhode Island, descended from the Smith and Shippee families that had been prominent in that state from its beginning. Her mother was Lydia (Cogswell) Smith. The Cogswells had come to New England in 1637. Lydia’s mother was Lucy (Seaver) Cogswell, whose ancestors arrived in Boston in 1635. Continue reading “Our family’s veterans from the Civil War and the Revolution”

Six degrees of Mom

I think most people are familiar with the “six degrees of separation” idea- the suggestion that you are connected to everyone else in the world by no more than six individual connections. Whether or not that’s actually true, it is kind of interesting to see how closely people are connected. In particular, I was curious how far back in time can you go to find connections. Continue reading “Six degrees of Mom”

On this day, June 15

isaacwilsonbaptismThere are two notable anniversaries today. The first is relatively recent- it was on this day in 1966 that Isabelle F. Shields, our Aunt Belle, died. Mom was named after Aunt Belle, and like Mom, Aunt Belle was a teacher. She wasn’t really our Aunt, or Mom’s. She was the daughter of John and Bridget (Creegan) Shields. Bridget was the sister of Catherine (Creegan) Farrar, Mom’s maternal grandmother. She was therefore the cousin of Mom’s own mother, Nana Dunn. That makes her Mom’s first cousin once removed, rather than an aunt. (And my first cousin twice removed).

The other anniversary is one of the oldest- today is the birth anniversary of Isaac Wilson, one of my tenth great grandfathers. Isaac was born on this day in 1567, in Halifax, Yorkshire. That creates another link to the Leeds area, where great grandfather Daniel Farrar came from. Isaac’s son Nathaniel emigrated to Boston in the late 1600’s, where his daughter Hannah married Shubael Seaver, the son of Robert and Elizabeth (Ballard) Seaver.

On this day, June 6, 1657

Today is the anniversary of the death of Elizabeth (Ballard) Seaver, born in England in 1613. Not much else is known about Elizabeth’s origins, but we do know that she emigrated to Boston by 1633, and, according to church records quoted in the July, 1872 New England Historical and Genealogical Register, was “a maide servant- she came in the year 1633 and soone after joyned to the church, – she was afterwards married to Robert Sever of this church, where she led a godly conversation”.

Elizabeth’s arrival in 1633 is, so far, the earliest of any of our ancestors.

On this day. May 13, 1794

Today is the birthday of Lucy Seaver, born on this day in 1794, probably in Holden. In 1812, at the age of 17, Lucy married Eriel S. Rider of Fitchburg. Rider doesn’t seem to have been around for long- eight years later, in 1820, Lucy Rider marries again- this time to Stephen Cogswell of Paxton. Stephen and Lucy had six children, and after farming in Rutland and Worcester (and possibly Glocester Rhode Island?), moved, in 1854, to Dublin New Hampshire.

On this day, December 15

Today is the birth anniversary of one of my eighth great grandmothers, Mary Goodrich. She was born December 15, 1650, in Wethersfield, Connecticut. Mary was the daughter of John Goodrich, born in Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk. John and his brother William emigrated to Wethersfield some time prior to November 1643. One of William’s descendants was Benjamin Franklin Goodrich, founder of the B.F. Goodrich tire company.

Mary’s connected to us by way of the Seaver family: her daughter Mary married Joseph Seaver, and their great great grand-daughter was Lucy (Seaver) Cogswell, grandmother of Mary Alice Smith, who married Daniel Dunn.

On this day, November 8

Today is the birthday of Ebenezer Cogswell, born this day in 1791 in Rutland. Ebenezer’s parents were Stephen and Mary (or Polly) Cogswell. His brother, also named Stephen, went on to marry Lucy Seaver, my third great grandmother. Ebenezer was named after his grandfather, who had been a sea captain in Ipswich, and who moved his family to Paxton some time in the late 1700’s.

Ebenezer married Rhoda Draper, who was originally from Spencer. The couple lived in Leicester, where they raised five children.

Shanty Irish or Boston Brahmin?

I found an amazing connection in the Dunn family tree yesterday while trying to figure out the Leonard O. Smith household. Leonard was the father of Mary Alice Smith, who married Daniel Dunn, and gave birth to Earl, Carl, Guy and Mildred. The 1880 census lists the Smith family members as Leonard, the father and head of household, daughters Mary Alice and Etta, and mother in law Lucy Cogswell. (Lydia Cogswell, Leonard’s wife, having passed away sometime before 1880.)

Trying to figure out maiden names of wives can be difficult, but in this case it was right there! I was able to trace Lydia Cogswell’s parents as Stephen and Lucy Cogswell, and found a marriage record from 1820, in Rutland Massachusetts. Now for the confusing part- the Massachusetts marriage record shows Lucy’s maiden name as Rider. A number of genealogical records, however, give it as Seaver.

It turns out that Lucy was indeed born a Seaver, but had married someone named Rider, who left her a widow, before marrying Stephen Cogswell. I found this information thanks to my old friend Google. It appears in a paper by genealogist Randy Seaver, posted on genealogy.com. (Note- it’s a big document- 256 pages when I printed it to .pdf.)

Now for the amazing connection: the paper does much more than clear up Lucy’s maiden name. The document is an 8 generation history of the descendants of Shubael Seaver, son of Robert Seaver, one of the earliest residents of Boston, having arrived there in 1637. It links Lucy Seaver directly back to Robert and his wife, Elizabeth Ballard.

Elizabeth arrived in Boston in 1633, just three years after the founding of the city.

So that makes me one of the few people, I suspect, that are eligible for both membership in the Winthrop Society, thanks to great great great Grandmother Lucy, and an Irish passport, thanks to Grandfather Sheehan!