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”

What about Charles Smith?

Looking at the gravestones in the Dublin Cemetery on Memorial day reminded me of one of those peripheral mysteries in our family tree- Charles Smith. Charles was the son of Leonard and Lydia Smith. Their other children were Mary Alice, my great grandmother, who married Daniel Dunn; and Etta, who married Walter Scott, and moved to Worcester some time around 1900.

Mary Alice is buried in the Dunn family plot in Rindge, and I would assume that Etta’s grave is in Worcester. Charles, who died at the age of 52 in 1912, is buried in Dublin, in the Smith-Cogswell plot. Although he married a woman named Annie in 1893, she is not buried there.

The 1880 census shows Charles, then 20 years old, living and working as a hired laborer on the farm of Annie Pierce in East Jaffrey. In 1886 the Cheshire County Gazetteer lists him as farming along with his father, Leonard, on the family farm. The 1900 census, taken two years after Leonard’s death, still shows Charles as a farmer, now living with his wife Annie in Jaffrey. It’s not the same Annie that he worked for in 1880- that Annie was the widow of a prosperous Jaffrey farmer, about fifteen years older than Charles. Charles’s wife is six years younger, and, according to the census, was born in Indiana. The census also reveals that they have no children, although Annie has given birth to a child who has died. Charles owns the farm free and clear, with no mortgage.

Ten years later, Charles and Annie are missing from Jaffrey’s 1910 census listing- in fact, I can’t find them anywhere in that year’s census. (I was intrigued by a listing of a Charles and Annie Smith living in New Mexico in 1910- especially when I saw that that Annie was also originally from Indiana- but the rest of the couple’s data didn’t match).

So what happened to Annie? It’s still a mystery to me. It’s possible she survived Charles, and may have remarried. The house Leonard Smith owned, and presumably left to his son on Gilmore Pond, was, by 1930, the summer home of a wealthy investment banker from Boston. I haven’t traced the ownership of the house- that may provide the answer to the mystery.

There is also a possible clue in the Dublin graveyard- an uncarved stone which happens to be in just about the location where you might have expected Annie to be buried. In the first picture, the first stone on the left is Leonard Smith, Charles’s father. Next is Charles’s grave, and then the “natural” stone.

So does the third stone actually mark a grave? If so, is it Annie’s, or perhaps her child? Hopefully the Dublin Cemetery records will have the answer. Stay tuned…

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, 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”.

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, 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.

… and still more ancestors in Dublin?

Well, strictly speaking, not ancestors, at least not my ancestors, but it turns out Leonard wasn’t the only Smith to move from Killingly to Dublin. I was actually googling some different combinations of Smith, Shippee, Foster, looking for information on the Shippee-Smith cemetery, when up popped a genealogy page that had this phrase: “Daughter of John and wife, Ruth (Shippe) Smith”. Leonard Smith, my great great grandfather, was the son of John and Ruth (Shippee) Smith, so this caught my eye. The text actually referred to Leonard’s sister, Hannah Marcella Smith. I already had her in my database, along with her husband, George Smith Harrington. I also knew that George was originally from Woodstock, Connecticut. What surprised me was that the page went on to give the location of George’s death as “Doublin [sic] New Hampshire”. So had George and Hannah Marcella followed Leonard and Lydia up north?

Well, no- sadly, Hannah died in 1861, in Killingly, five days after giving birth to a daughter who also died. Within a year, though, George had married Hannah’s older sister, Margaret. And shortly after that, the couple moved to Dublin.

George, according to ‘The History of Dublin’, was a machinist, but also farmed a┬áproperty not far from Leonard Smith’s place on the old Dublin to Jaffrey road, just east of Mount Monadnock. George and Margaret lived there for about thirty years- they had no children of their own, but George and Hannah’s son Leonard moved to Dublin with them, and continued to farm there after George’s death in 1895, and the death of his step-mother a year later. Leonard married Eugenie Burpee, a Dublin girl, and they raised five children together. (Oddly enough, George and Margaret are not included in the Dublin cemetery listings in the town’s history, so I’m not sure where they’re buried.)

What still puzzles me is the fact that the Smiths, Cogswells and Harringtons all moved to Dublin, and farmed there, at the same time that rural towns like Dublin were losing farmers in droves to the greener pastures of the West. Many farms were being abandoned, or turned into “summer places” for the wealthy- so why did our ancestors decide it was a good time to move in as farmers?