For Memorial Day: Rufus Cogswell

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Rufus Cogswell’s grave at the Old Soldier’s Home, in Washington DC

Memorial Day was originally a day to remember soldiers who died in the Civil War, so it’s appropriate to remember Rufus Cogswell, Mom’s great grand-uncle, who was the only person on the Dunn side of the family tree to die while serving in the military. Rufus was born in Rutland in 1829. When his parents, Stephen and Lucy (Seaver) Cogswell moved to Dublin, New Hampshire in the 1850’s, Rufus followed them, along with his sister (Mom’s great grandmother) Lydia, and Lydia’s husband Leonard Smith.

In 1859 Rufus married Elmira (Knowlton) Moore, a Dublin widow with three children. Rufus and Elmira then had a further two children of their own. On September 10th 1862, just five months after the birth of their son Milton, Rufus joined the Tenth New Hampshire Volunteers and headed off to war.

Rufus died two weeks later, on September 24, 1862, shortly after his regiment arrived in Washington. It was Rufus and Elmira’s third wedding anniversary. Continue reading “For Memorial Day: Rufus Cogswell”

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”

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.

Another possible veteran of the Revolution

In the previous post about Solomon Shippey’s service in the Revolution, I mentioned that he’s the only veteran of that war that I’ve found so far. Today I came across a record that might indicate that the elder Stephen Cogswell, another of my fourth great grandfathers, may also have served in that war, albeit briefly.

Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution”, an index published in 1898, has this:

Cogswell, Stephen. Private, Capt. Joshua Whitney’s co., Col. Josiah Whitney’s regt.; service from July 31, 1778, to Sept. 14, 1778, 1 mo. 15 days, at Rhode Island. Roll dated Worcester.Stephen

Stephen would have been 19 at the time, probably living with his parents in Paxton. If this is our Stephen Cogswell, it would mean that he served in the unsuccessful attempt to push the British off Aquidneck (Rhode) Island, which became known as the Battle of Rhode Island. The battle concluded on August 29, 1778, with the British still in control of Newport, which might explain the brevity of Stephen’s service.

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.

Another Cogswell mystery?

Rufus Cogswell’s story is a particularly sad one, and it may be even sadder than I thought, and also more mysterious.

Rufus was the son of Stephen and Lucy Cogswell. His sister was Lydia, who married Leonard Smith, and was my great great great grandmother. He apparently moved to Dublin at the same time as his parents, in 1854. By 1860, Rufus, then 31, had married Elmira (Knowlton) Moore, a widow with three children by her first husband, James Moore.

Rufus and Elmira had two children of their own, Nathan and Milton. Milton died at the age of sixteen, but Nathan became a farmer, first in Dublin, and later West Swanzey, and was still alive at the time of the 1930 census, when he was 69 years of age.

In September of 1862, Rufus enlisted to fight for the Union Army in the Civil War. Two weeks after he enlisted, he was dead. Not from combat, but from disease. He had only made it as far as Washington DC, and that is where he was buried, in the Old Soldier’s Home cemetery, the first national veteran’s cemetery in the US. Elmira was widowed for the second time.

What I didn’t know about Rufus was that Elmira may not have been his first wife. While reviewing the 1850 census for information about Rufus’s parents, Stephen and Lucy Cogswell, who at the time were living in Worcester, I notice some additional Cogswells on the same form- a Rufus Cogswell, and his wife and daughter, both named Lucy. The daughter was three months old, the wife 21, and Rufus 23.

Searching marriage records, I found a record of a marriage on July 5, 1846, in Thompson, Connecticut, between Lucy A. Blackmore of Thompson, and Rufus Cogswell of Glocester, Rhode Island. There isn’t definitive proof that this Rufus and Lucy are the same couple listed on the census in Worcester four years later, but it seems likely, especially given another marriage listed on the same page, from 1842- between Mason Cogswell of Worcester and Abigail Swan of Thompson. Rufus had a brother Mason, who farmed in Worcester, and whose wife was named Abby.

If this is the same Rufus Cogswell, it might mean that the family lived in Glocester, which is just east of Killingly, where the Smiths lived. That might explain the subsequent marriage between Leonard Smith and Lydia Cogswell, Rufus’s sister, that has always puzzled me.

But if it is the same Rufus, it creates another mystery- what happened to his wife and daughter?

Cousin Clarence, the Monadnock Bachelor Farmer

While looking for more information on George Smith Harrington, the machinist from Woodstock, Connecticut who married both of great great grandfather Leonard Smith’s sisters (not at the same time), I found a brief excerpt from “Annals of the Grand Monadnock”, a book published in 1936. One section of the book tells, lot by lot, the history of various properties on the mountain. The excerpt provided by Google recounts George’s purchase of a lot on the eastern slope of Monadnock from the estate of Joseph Eveleth in 1868, and notes that “he lived there until he died in 1896. He was succeeded by his son Leonard W. Harrington who married Eugenie Ann Burpee, a daughter of his next door neighbor. Their children still own the property.”

The property was a portion of lot 11, range 1, which is located at the end of Burpee Road. The road was named for the owners of the rest of lot 11, the Burpee family. George and Leonard farmed 140 acres, and had 400 sugar maples, according to the 1885 Cheshire County Gazetteer. George died in 1916, and his wife Margaret followed soon after. Leonard and his wife Eugenie Ann eventually raised six children on the farm- five daughters and a son. By 1920, three of the daughters had moved on, but Leonard’s son Clarence had stayed on, along with sisters Eva and Hannah.

By 1936, when the “Annals” were written, Leonard and Eugenie’s “children” were getting on in years- Clarence was 55, Hannah 61, and Eva 60. None had married. Six years later, when Clarence was required to register for the “Old Man’s Draft” in World War II, he and Eva were apparently still living on the farm, although it may not have been a working farm any more. Clarence listed his employer as Charles Ernest Chamberlain of Jaffrey Center. (Chamberlain, born in 1896 was also required to register for the draft- he lists his employer as “L. H. Wetherell, 1A Acorn St., Boston”. Lawrence H. Wetherell was a wealthy partner in a steel company, Wetherell Brothers. He and his wife owned what had been the Cutter place in Jaffrey Center, which served as their summer residence. Chamberlain was the caretaker, so Clarence probably worked as a handyman there.)

Dublin1892AtlasMapDetailYou can see the location of the Harrington farm on the map- click on the image to enlarge it. The map is from the 1892 New Hampshire Atlas, and is oriented with North to the right, rather than the top. Just below “Monadnock Mountain” is the label for the farm of “L.W. Harrington”. Just to the east (down) is the Burpee place.

Another interesting item on the map is the label “Mrs. E. Cogswell” that appears in the bottom right of the map- it marks the residence of Elmira Cogswell, widow of Rufus Cogswell, who died in the Civil War. Rufus was the brother of Lydia (Cogswell) Smith, wife of Leonard Smith, who was the brother of George Smith Harrington’s wives.

On this day November 29

Today is the 338th anniversary of the death of John Cogswell, my ninth great-grandfather, in Ipswich. Cogswell was born in Westbury Leigh, Wiltshire, England. In 1635 he and his family emigrated to America aboard the Angel Gabriel, which wrecked on the shore at Pemaquid Point, Maine.

The Cogswells eventually made it to Ipswich, where the family prospered.

The Descendants of John Cogswell” has this account of his passing:

For several years Mr. Cogswell and family lived in the log-house with its thatched roof, while many of their goods remained stored in boxes, awaiting some better accommodations. It is said there were pieces of carved furniture, embroidered curtains, damask table linen, much silver plate; and that there was a Turkey carpet is well attested. As soon as practicable Mr. Cogswell put up a framed house. This stood a little back from the highway, and was approached by walks through grounds of shrubbery and flowers. There is an English shrub still, 1884, enjoying a thrifty life, which stands not far from the site of the old Cogswell manor. This shrub, tradition says, John Cogswell brought with him from England.

For some years after the completion of their new dwelling-house Mr. and Mrs. Cogswell lived to enjoy their pleasant home, surrounded by their children, well settled, some of them on farms near by, made of lands deeded to them by their now aged parents. The time came at length, after a life of change, adventure, and hardship, and Mr. Cogswell died at the age of seventy-seven years. The funeral service for John Cogswell was conducted by the Rev. William Hubbard, pastor in Ipswich and since known as ‘the Historian of New England’. The funeral procession traversed a distance of five miles to the place of burial, the Old North graveyard of the First Church. They moved under an escort of armed men, as a protection against the possible attack of Indians.

Mrs. Cogswell survived her husband but a few years. She was a woman of sterling qualities and dearly loved by all who knew her. Side by side in the old churchyard in Ipswich have slept for more than two hundred (now more than 300) years the mortal remains of this godly pair, whose childhood was passed near the banks of the river Avon; who, leaving behind the tender associations of the Old World, came with their children to aid in rearing on these shores a pure Christian state. They did greater work than they knew, died in the faith of the Gospel, and while their graves are unmarked by monument of stone, their souls are safe in heaven, their memory blessed, and their names honored by a posterity in numbers hardly second to that of Abraham.

Updating the Cogswells

The Thanksgiving Day item about Ebenezer Cogswell caught the attention of the Cogswell Family Association. I was actually able to provide them with some information that wasn’t in their database, involving Lydia and Rufus Cogswell. They’d been aware of Rufus’s death in the Civil War, but hadn’t known about his wife and son, or where he was buried. And they had no information on Lydia beyond her marriage to Leonard Smith.

But I still haven’t figured out the big mystery about the Smiths and Cogswells- why did they all move to the Monadnock region at a time when most people were leaving the area for greener pastures elsewhere?