From Mom’s online condolence book

April 11, 2013

So sorry to read that Mrs Sheehan passed away. She was my 6th grade teacher in the Manchaug School in 1952. I met her in Whitinsville about 15 years ago and even though I had not seen her in 45 years I knew who she was. I spoke to her, told her my name, and said I was sure she would not remember me. ” Of course I remember you, you lived on Lackey Dam Road and had a younger brother Tom who was also my student” was her reply.

She was one of the special teachers I always remembered.

Carol Hutnak Gogolinski Continue reading “From Mom’s online condolence book”

The Dunn Genes

danmaryaliceRindgeThere were a few comments about the “Dunn genes” last week, referring to Mom and Uncle Bud’s longevity. If you take a look at the Dunn family tree, though, you might wonder if genes had anything to do with it.

Grandfather Dunn was just 62 when he died in 1958. Nana had died the previous year at 68. All but one of Mom’s grandparents had even shorter lives. Her maternal grandfather, Daniel Farrar, died just two days shy of his 70th birthday- but the rest of Mom’s grandparents all died at the age of 52! Nana Dunn’s mother, Catherine (Creegan) Farrar died in 1905 of “nephritis”, a disease of the kidneys that I’d never heard of before, but which, according to Wikipedia, is the eighth leading cause of death in the world. (Catherine, incidentally, was Daniel’s third wife- the first two, Jane McKee and Florence McQuire, having died at the ages of 28 and 40, respectively.) Continue reading “The Dunn Genes”

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.

For Memorial Day- some interesting gravestones

Where it all began- a year ago, we took Mom to Rindge in search of her grandparent’s house and grave sites. We found both- here’s Mom at the Dunn family plot at Hillside Cemetery in Rindge. Curiously, the names and dates of Daniel and Mary Alice Dunn don’t appear on the stone- the front says simply “Dunn”, and the reverse is blank.

There are, however, small individual stones for Carl and Reinald Dunn, Mom’s uncles who died young. There is also a marker for Mom’s Aunt Mildred, who died in 1981.

Carl was Grandfather Dunn’s twin brother. The twins were given matching names- Earl Lernard and Carl Bernard. Carl died at the age of 13, according to family tradition, when he jumped off the roof of the barn holding an umbrella as a parachute. Like the story of his father’s origins, that story turned out to be fiction. According to the death certificate I found later, Carl actually died of “paralysis” (possibly cereberal palsy), from which he had suffered since birth.

Nearby is the distinctive heart shaped stone marking the grave of Mom’s cousin Rita Valentine. Born Rita McCray, she was the daughter of Charles McCray, grandfather Dunn’s older brother. (Charles was born Guy Dunn, but for reasons that are still unclear, changed his name to McCray in about 1914). When I visited the cemetery last October, the flowers at Rita’s grave had been joined by two miniature pumpkins.

The Smith Adams cemetery in the Ballouville section of Killingly, Connecticut, is small and inconspicuous. The day I found it, I was actively looking for cemeteries in the area, and almost missed it. The cemetery is located less than a thousand feet from the farm that the Smith family, including my great great grandfather, Leonard O. Smith, worked in the mid 1800’s. There are two gravestones here that I found especially interesting. One marks the grave of Orrilla N. Smith. I didn’t have an Orrilla Smith in my tree, but the inscription on the stone made me think that perhaps I should. It reads ” Smith Orrilla N., daughter of John 2nd & Ruth, died June 30, 1844, age 16 yrs”.

Leonard Smith’s parents were named John and Ruth Smith- the fact that their farm is a thousand feet from the grave certainly lends credence to the idea that this is their daughter. The census records from 1830 and 1840 suggest that John and Ruth had a third daughter after Hannah and Margaret, and the age ranges match up with Orrilla’s dates as given on the gravestone. On the other hand, none of the other immediate family members appear to be buried here. So it’s likely, but not definite that this is another member of our family tree.

There is another interesting Smith grave in this cemetery, and I have no evidence that he’s related, but his story was too interesting to ignore. Elisha Smith’s stone says he was a member of the Eighteenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers. Military records show that Elisha enlisted on December 3, 1863. The following May, the 18th participated in the Battle of New Market, Virginia. It was a defeat for the Union Army, and Elisha was one of about fifty Union soldiers taken prisoner. He was held at the infamous Andersonville prison, but managed to survive until he was released at the end of the war. No mean feat in a prison camp where one third of the inmates died from the horrendous conditions. Even more impressive when you consider that Elisha was not a young man- he was already 52 years old when he enlisted.

Whether or not Elisha is related to us is still uncertain. The proximity of his grave to the John Smith farm makes it very possible, as does one other interesting fact. In 1856, Elisha’s second wife Sarah (whom he married when he was 41 and she was 17), had a daughter they named Lydia Ann. It’s possible she was named after Lydia Ann Cogswell, the wife of Leonard Smith. This would have been about 8 years after Leonard and Lydia’s marriage, and at about the time they and the Cogswells moved to Dublin, New Hampshire.

Last but certainly not least are these two oversized monuments in St. Francis Cemetery in Pawtucket. They mark the graves of the families of Philip Cregan, Mom’s maternal grandfather, and Peter Creegan, who I believe was Philip’s nephew- I haven’t completely figured out the Creegans. And it doesn’t help that the surname appears variously as Creegan, Cregan, Cragin, Cragen, and even Creighton. Philip Cregan’s daughter Catherine married Daniel Farrar, an iron moulder originally from Leeds in Yorkshire, England. Their daughter Katherine was Mom’s mother, better known to me as Nana Dunn.

Ironically, I was looking for Daniel and Catherine Farrar’s graves when I found the Creegan monuments. The Farrar’s are apparently buried nearby, but I was unable to locate their graves- it’s possible they are unmarked.

On this day, April 23, 1861

Today marks the anniversary of the death of Hannah Marcella (Smith) Harrington. Hannah is not a direct ancestor- she was the sister of Leonard O. Smith, my great great grandfather. Hannah was the fourth of five children of John and Ruth (Shippy) Smith, born in Foster, Rhode Island in 1822. The family subsequently moved to Killingly, Connecticut, just a few miles away.

It was in Killingly, in 1846 that Hannah married George Smith Harrington, originally from Woodstock, Connecticut. George and Hannah had four children, but only one, Leonard W., lived to adulthood. Their fourth child, who seems to have been unnamed, was born on April 16, 1861, and died two days later. Hannah died, presumably from childbirth complications, five days after that.

Eleven months after Hannah’s death, on March 18, 1862, George married Hannah’s elder sister, Margaret Smith. Margaret was 45 at the time, and the couple had no children of their own. By 1870, George and Margaret had moved to Dublin , New Hampshire, following the lead of Margaret’s brother Leonard, and Leonard’s in-laws, Stephen and Lucy Cogswell. George’s son Leonard went with them, and eventually married Eugenia Ann Burpee, the daughter of their next door neighbor.

According to the History of Dublin, George Smith Harrington acquired Lot 12, No. 1, from Asaph Burpee in 1868. George transferred ownership of the property to Leonard in 1889. Lot 12, No. 2 was owned by Abbott Burpee, Eugenia’s father. In 1902, Leonard Harrington acquired Lot 12, No. 2.

Leonard and Eugenia had at least five children by 1910. Their surviving offspring would be the only relatives we would have left in the area. Allen Chamberlain, in his 1936 book Annals of the Grand Monadnock, mentions Leonard, and states that his children still owned the property at that time.

On this day: April 17, 1870

Today marks the 138th anniversary of the birth of Mary Ann Dunn, my great great aunt, in Somerville, Massachusetts. Mary Ann’s parents were Daniel and Mary (Ledwick) Dunn. Mary Ann was the second of four children- the others were her older brother Daniel, her sister Catherine, and younger brother Thomas. When Mary Ann was just five years old, she apparently witnessed the death of her mother at the hands of her father, in Lowell on July 13, 1875.

Mary Ann and Catherine next show up on the 1880 census as “pupils” at the St. Peter Orphan Asylum in Lowell. Their brother Daniel, by 1880, is already living in Jaffrey, working on a farm. I haven’t been able to find any official records of Mary Ann and her other siblings (aside from Daniel, of course), after 1880.

Forty years later, however, the Fitchburg Sentinel contained this brief item in the Rindge social notes for April 9, 1920:

Miss Mamie Leary and Miss Kate Dunn of Lowell were guests of Mrs. M. Alice Dunn over Sunday.

An earlier item in the Sentinel had mentioned a visit by “Daniel Dunn’s sisters from Lowell”. Mamie Leary may be Mary Ann’s married name- Mamie can be a nickname for Mary. I haven’t been able to find either Mary Ann or Catherine (or Mamie or Kate) in the census or directory records for Lowell around that time.

On this day, April 3, 1957

It was on this day in 1957 that Kathryn Jane (Farrar) Dunn, better known to me at least, as Nana Dunn, passed away. Nana was born in 1889 in East Providence, the daughter of Daniel and Catherine (Creegan) Farrar. Daniel was an iron moulder who had emigrated to Rhode Island from Leeds in Yorkshire, England, while Catherine was the daughter of Irish immigrants.

Nana worked as a piano tuner for toy pianos made in a Pawtucket factory until the company moved its operations to Winchendon. Nana moved there to work at the new company, Parker & Mason. It was while working in Winchendon that she met, and later married my Grandfather, Earl Dunn, the son of a Rindge NH blacksmith.

Nana’s obituary from the Worcester Telegram is in the Gallery section.