Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

30 Apr 2021: Photo Recreations … Wells Style April 30, 2021

Have you ever done a photo recreation? That’s where you take an old photo and try to recreate it today. Same place, same people, just YEARS later. It’s fun. I’ve been doing it for a while now and wrangled mom into some fun ones while we were up in Ashaway last week. Here they are:

The first two are from Oak Grove Cemetery, the Wells family plot. I only had two photos from that trip back in the 1970’s, but it was something to start with.

This one cracks me up. I’m obviously a lot taller these days than I was in 1973. Mom and I drove up to her Aunt Sylvia Wells’ house in Wickford and recreated this next one. Original has her dad, Elliot Wells. I have to say, that house looks AWESOME in blue!

The last tree are in Crandall Field in Ashaway, RI. It used to be the site of the Old Wells House and in the old photos here, was the front yard.

Try some photo recreations of your own! They make great additions to your family photos!



25 Apr 2021: In Living Color – Randall Wells and the Hopkinton Militia April 25, 2021

While up in Rhode Island last week, I drove over to Narragansett to find my best approximation of where the Hopkinton Militia was stationed as mentioned in the pension application of Daniel Knowles. I’ll start with the reference he makes in his application. The x’s are words I was unable to make out in the old handwriting.

In November 1777 the company xxx of the same, of which xxxx be again  xxx was again called out, George Thurston was still Captain, Randall Wells Leit and Joseph Thurston Ensign, they were marched xxx(From?) Little Rest Hill now called Kinston Hill(?) to the shores of the Bay, to join the shores and stationed at the Bonnet Farm xxxx at the house of Colonel John Gardiner in Boston Neck two months and afterward(?) two more months at the xxxx house near the same, at the end of that time, they were discharged. 

I found this map online that shows Little Rest, right in the middle. Below that is a modern day map, and below that is a close up showing Little Rest Hill Road in South Kingston, RI.

I wasn’t really looking for Little Rest Hill, but it was nice to know where it was and the direction they were coming from when they marched to the Bonnet Farm and the house of Col. John Gardiner. A little Googling, found the reference below. It talks of the estate at Bonnet Point and Wesquage Beach.

The Gardiners of Narragansett: Being a Genealogy of the Descendants of George Gardiner, the Colonist, 1638, PAGE 210

The map above shows, Wesquage Pond, the neighborhood called The Bonnet next to Bonnet Shores Beach and Colonel John Gardner Road. Interesting that the road has Gardiner missing the “i”, but this must be the general area in which Randall Wells and the Hopkinton Militia encamped in November 1777.

So here I am, in my first video blog post. Note, this is a learning curve. Lesson 1: block the wind from the microphone. You can still hear me, but there’s wind.

Jennifer April 2021

I’ll be doing daily posts for a while to catch up on all the great info I gathered on my recent trip to Rhode Island and Connecticut, so much more to come!


I filmed on the beach by this intersection.
The Beach I filmed on. Did Randall walk here?

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24 Apr 2021: Phineas “Thomas” Crandall, a genealogical comedy of errors. April 24, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 9:32 pm

While working on my DAR supplemental application for David Rogers (8 Mar 1719 – 17 Oct 1803), I discovered what I suspected was a transcription error in Rhode Island Vital Records Volume 5 for Washington County. The error: Phineas Crandall (7 Apr 1743 – 27 Apr 1821, David Rogers’ son-in-law) is listed as Thomas Crandall. This tossed a monkey wrench in proving that Phineas Crandall was the husband of Ruth Rogers (18/28 Aug 1748 – 1783). RI VR had a Thomas Crandall as her husband. Here is the entry I was dealing with.

Vital Record of Rhode Island 1636-1850, First Series. Births, Marriages and Deaths, Vol 5. Washington County
By James N Arnold, 1894 Providence, RI: Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, Page 25
Westerly – Marriages
3-111 Thomas, of Westerly, and Ruth Rogers, of New London; m. by Elder Stephen Gorton, May 19, 1767

I was up in Westerly last week and stopped in the town clerk’s office to consult the original text. EUREKA! I was correct. The handwriting is wonky so I might have made the same mistake. Here’s the original. I can see where if you were trying to get this transcribed in a hurry how you’d make the mistake.

When I asked to see the record, I was surprised what they gave me. Honestly, I had no idea it would even be possible to get a copy of a marriage certificate from 1767.

Yes, I loved this. Looks like they got married yesterday, not 254 years ago. Thought I’d show Phineas while I stopped over at the Wells plot in Oak Grove Cemetery in Ashaway. He’s buried there with wife #2 just next to the Wells clan. You can see the Wells stones behind me and to the left.

Sadly, while I was at the Town Clerk’s office, I tried to find the record in their books for Phineas’ birth record. Here’s the error there:

Vital Record of Rhode Island 1636-1850, First Series. Births, Marriages and Deaths, Vol 5. Washington County
By James N Arnold, 1894 Providence, RI: Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, Page 94
Westerly Births and Deaths
2-49 Phendas, of Joseph Jr., and Elizabeth April 7, 1743

The pages of that book where Phineas should be were so faded out and the handwriting so bad, I wasn’t able to find the record to show the proper spelling. Not sure why anyone would automatically go to Phendas over Phineas.

I’d like to ask that if you have any evidence that Phineas was an American Patriot, I’d love to see documentation on that. I’ve seen him listed as a patriot, but have yet to discover any evidence that he actually was, like muster rolls or any mentions in pension records on Fold3 or Ancestry. The DAR website lists him as a patriot, but also says there are issues with the lineage, though it doesn’t say what the issues are.

This in the area where they describe his service:

I’ve been poking around trying to figure out exactly what this reference is “RI ST ARCH INDEX TO MIL & NAV RECS, 1774-1805, ROLL #10.6”. I found it referenced on a few other trees and on findagrave, but no one details what the source is. I emailed the Rhode Island State Archives, as I assume that is the organization referenced, so we’ll have to see if they get back to me. I’ll keep you updated as events unfold.



28 Mar 2021: FilmBox, a Review March 28, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 10:33 am

A few weeks back, I was super excited to see this ad on my Facebook feed. Excited, and yet as always amazed at how well my phone and big brother know my interests, hobbies and obsessions.

Great! An app to help me scan those old negatives. I’ve been working on scanning all my Dad’s old negatives. I do it on my Epson V500 Scanner. It has an attachments to scan 35mm and large format negs, but it takes a while as you have to scan the entire negative and then break it down picture by picture, cropping the original until you turn one scan of the neg into 5 jpgs, one of each image on the roll.

I downloaded the app and gave it a try. It is super easy to use, but I got mixed results. Here are some of the images I got from my scans.

Sometimes, it gave me a nicely cropped image, the other half of the time, I got the full negative image (not just the photo image) and would have to crop anyway.

When I exported the images off my phone to my computer, I soon realized the images were pretty poor quality. Here is the same image where the first one is from FilmBox and the second one is from my Epson scanner.

A cool phot my dad took. The FilmBox image is of such a poor quality, it’s basically useless. For my needs as a family photo archivist, I’m sad to say, FilmBox is worthless with these results. This was a big disappointment. My phone is an Android. All I can say is maybe the app would be better on an iPhone. I certainly hope so.



24 Mar 2021: Randall Wells, my Patriot March 24, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 8:22 pm

Finally got my DAR certificate framed and ready to hang. Now all the world (or at least everyone in my living room) can see my lineage to Randall Wells of Hopkinton, RI.

A proud day for me, to be sure.

So, if you want to join the DAR or SAR and use Randall Wells as your patriot ancestor, shoot me a line and I’ll be happy to assist you 🙂



18 Mar 2021: Jonathan Rogers of The Great Neck March 18, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 9:37 am

Finding primary source data for my colonial-era ancestors is always a challenge. There are occasionally vital records transcription books, but you can’t always take them as gospel. Case in point, on my next trip to Westerly, I have to consult some record books in the Town Clerks office, because I think Rhode Island Vital Records Vol 5 has a transcription error and has Phineas Crandall listed as Thomas Crandall. Going to have to consult the original handwriting on that one.

Family History books are hit and miss. You really have to see what sources they’re using. If they’re not listing any sources, I wouldn’t pay it much mind and would never use it as proof of anything.

Family Bibles are even worse. When my mom and I finally got a look at the Wells Family Bible, my mom scrunches her brown and says “Humm… They have my birthday wrong. Off by a week.” And that book was probably written in by her grandfather, Williams Rogers Wells. You’d think he’d get that date correct.

And then sometimes, there is an eerie silence on any source, good or bad. Jonathan Rogers Jr, my 6th Great Grandfather (1690-1784) son of Jonathan Rogers Sr and Naomi Burdick, was lacking any creditable source for his death date. Then last week, I stumbled across an intersting tidbit while looking for more info on his son David. David is a Patriot I’m trying to add to my DAR membership.

Family and Town history books were giving me conflicting information on Jonathan. (See below for more info on these)

History of Montville, CT says he died in 1784

James Roger of New London, CT says he died 177?

Signers of the Mayflower Company, says he died 1780

Babcock and Allied Families, says he died 1777

Ancestors of Florence Julia Brown says he died 1784

Of all these books, Ancestors of Florence Julia Brown has the best source citations, so I’ve always leaned towards that 1784 date.

So when I came across this article, I was happy to be able to confirm that he died in the Fall or Winter of 1784:

Connecticut Gazette (New London, CT), Friday, 24 Dec 1784, Vol XXII, Issue 1102, Page 3
Notice is hereby given, to all whom it may Concern, That a Special Court agreeable to the direction of the Statue respecting the Records of the Court of Probate for the District of New London xxrnt on the 6th Sept. 1XX1, will be held by the Hon. Gurdon Saltonstall, Esq; Judge of said Court, and the Hon. William Hillhouse, Esq: Judge of the County Court of New London on the 25th Day of January next; at the House of John Richards in New London in said County, at 10 o’Clock Forenoon, when are proposed to be confirmed and established Copies of the Division of the Estate of Nicholas Hallam late of New London, deceased, of the Inventory of the Estate of Esther Marvin, late of Lyme deceased and the last Will and Testament of John Rogers, late of said New London, deceased, and of Jonathan Rogers, late of the Great-Neck, in said New London, deceased.
New London, 22nd Dec. 1784.
Per Order of said special Court,

I found this article on Genealogybank.com, a great source for Colonial Era newspapers in Connecticut and Rhode Island. It’s not the greatest source as it doesn’t give any reference to anyone else, like a son or executor of his estate to help confirm he’s the correct Jonathan, but it’s good enough for me, for now …

Here are those other family and town history references I mentioned below in more context.


History of Montville, Connecticut, By Henry Augustus Baker, 1896, Page 187
III. JONATHAN (39), born about 1690, only son of Jonathan Rogers and Naomi Burdick; married Judith __. He settled in Rhode Island. He died in 1784, aged 94 years. She died 26 June 1805.

James Rogers of New London, CT., and his Descendants, James Swift Rogers, A.B., Harvard; Boston, 1902
Page 76-77

Jonathan (3) Rogers (Jonathan 2 James 1), born -, 1690, in New London; died -, 177; married Nov. 24, 1711, Judith Potter. “She died soon afterwards, before his will was proved.”

Signers of the Mayflower Compact by Annie Arnoux Haxton, Page 65
Jonathan Jr. (only son) born 1690; died 6,-,1780; married about 1711,Judith Potter

Babcock and Allied Families, Louis Effingham de Forest, A.M. J.D. Major, Res., de Forest Pub. Comp.1928,Page 87-91
Jonathan (3) Rogers, was born at New London, Connecticut, in 1690, and died in 1777.
On November 24, 1711, he married Judith Potter, whose parentage has not been learned.

Ancestors of Florence Julia Brown and some of their Descendants, Walter LeRoy Brown and M. Theta Hakes Brown, R.F.D.1, Albion, N.Y., 1940, Page 75
Children of Jonathan 2 (James) Rogers and Naomi Burdick:
5 Jonathan 3 Rogers 1690-1784, m. Nov. 24, 1711 Judith Potter, d. June 26, 1805. Her ancestry is not known.


17 Feb 2021: Happy 263rd Anniversary, William & Zeruiah! February 17, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 3:53 pm

I had another great discovery today in my quest to unearth primary source material proving the vital facts in the lives of my Patriot ancestors and their lines. All part of my DAR supplemental patriot applications. Today’s breakthrough has to do with Dr. William Vincent of Westerly RI (1729-1807) and his wife Zeruiah Rudd (1736-1800) of Norwich CT. Dr. William Vincent is a patriot, but so is Zeruiah’s father, Joseph Rudd (huband of Sarah Moseley) so this factoid does double duty for me! William Vincent is my 5th Great Grandfather, Joseph Rudd, my 6th Great Grandfather.

William and Zeruiah were married on 22 June 1758 in Lisbon, New London, Connecticut. I’d already had this information through these two sources:

Vital Record of Rhode Island 1636-1850, First Series. Births, Marriages and Deaths, Vol 5. Washington County
By James N Arnold, 1894 Providence, RI: Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, Page 67, Westerly – Marriages
3-21 Jemima, and William Clarke. Nov. 13, 1749
3-37 Mary, and Ephraim Bacon. Feb. 20, 1754
3-62 William, of Westerly, and Zerriah Rudd, of Norwich, Conn, June 22, 1758
4-136 Susannah, and Capt. Nathan Brand. Oct. 24, 1779
4-157 Elizabeth, and Capt. Oliver Lewis. Aug 2, 1781

Early Connecticut Marriages as found on Ancient Church Records Prior to 1800, Fifth Book, Edited by the Rev. Frederic W. Bailey, B.D., Published by the Bureau of American Ancestry, New Haven, Conn 1902, Page 83 and 85
Norwich – Lisbon, New London County
The town of Lisbon was incorporated in May, 1786, taken from Norwich. The Congregational Church in Lisbon (Newent Society). located at Jewett City, was organized December 1793. Rev. Daniel Kirkland, Paston.
William Vincent of Westerly and Zeriah Rudd June 20, 1758

Today, however, I was able to locate some primary source data on this marriage, so much better than these listings. I discovered it on Familysearch.org and was amazed that they had a copy of this handwritten book. Here are the images of the source citations from the front of the roll of film and the first few pages of the book:

Here is the first page in the book with the actual records. I LOVE this old handwriting. So Cool!

And buried in this 745 image long scan on FamilySearch.org was this gem!

Here’s a close up look at the entry:

It says under the heading of 1758, ” June 22 William Vincent of Westerly and Zeruiah Rudd of Norwich were lawfully married to each other by Peter Powers Pastor.” How awesome is this!

I’m using this for my source citation: Lisbon, Connecticut Newent Congregational Church Records 1723-1932 Volume 1, (Lisbon Congregationalist Church Records, VOL 1, 1724-1803, FamilySearch microfilm from the State Library, Hartford, Connecticut), Page 109

If you’re a descendant of Zeruiah and William as well, I hope you enjoy!


Evidence that you should always have someone proof read everything!

10 Feb 2021: The Consort and the Doctor February 10, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 2:01 pm

I was thinking last night that I should have included a list of all my Patriot Ancestors in yesterday’s post. Here they are:

  • Randall Wells (1747-1821)
  • Joseph C. Crandall III (1716/17-1792)
  • Phineas Crandall (1743-1821) son of Joseph C above
  • David Maxson (1729-1785)
  • John Maxson AKA Egypt John Maxson (1725-1791) Also brother of David above and father-in-law of Randall Wells.
  • David Rogers (1719-1803)
  • Dr. William Vincent (1729-1829)
  • Joseph Rudd (1708-1787) Joseph was Dr. Vincent’s father-in-law.
  • George Stillman (Actually, I already sent in the paperwork to add George)
Probably more dramatic than most of my ancestor’s service …

Today, I’d like to highlight a great find I discovered for Dr. William Vincent and his wife Zeruiah Rudd. Her is William’s death notices in local papers:

Connecticut Herald, New Haven, CT, 28 Jul 1807, Tuesday, Vol IV, Issue 196, Page 3
DIED at Stonington, Doct. William Vincent.

True Republican, New London, CT, 29 Jul 1807, Wednesday, Vol I, Issue 5, Page 3
DIED, In South Stonington, Dr. William Vincent, an aged and respectable inhabitant.

Here is the death notice for his wife, Zeruiah:

Impartial Journal, Stonington, CT, 16 Sept 1800, Tuesday, Vol II, Issue 50, Page 2
DIED – In Westerly, Mrs. Vincent, consort of Doct. William Vincent.

I was interested that this nice called Zeruiah his consort and not his wife. When I did a little research on this I found this interesting blog post I’ll put a link to below. It says “‘Nancy consort of John Clark.’  Consort meant that Nancy was John’s spouse and died before her husband did.” Interesting, as I’d not heard this before. It also talked about the relict. “Relict was another term from the 17th and 18th centuries that meant the woman was the surviving spouse of the marriage and had not remarried.  Relict was used much as our term widow is used today to describe a woman whose spouse has died before her.” More food for thought.



9 Feb 2021: Watch out for them Pitch Forks February 9, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 2:41 pm

So, I joined the DAR! The Daughters of the American Revolution, if you’re not familiar. I won’t digress on what the DAR is. If you don’t know, you can Google it. I joined using Randall Wells as my patriot ancestor. I’m not working on adding supplemental patriots. These are other patriot ancestors of mine that I can add to my membership. Supplementals are totally optional, but I’m a genealogy nut, so they’re part of the fun of joining the DAR.

I decided to do a series of posts on the really neat sources I’ve discovered in trying to find evidence of the lives of these patriot ancestors of mine. Today, let’s talk about David Maxson. David was born 24 July 1729 in Westerly and died 26 Dec 1786 in Westerly, RI. He married in 1748 Abigail Greenman.

I was trolling around on Ancestry.com looking for good sources for the vitals of Birth, Marriage and Death. That’s when I cam across this item from the Hale Collection:

Hale Collection: S.L.N. 149 Connecticut Journal, New Haven, CT, Death Records October 23, 1767-April 7, 1835, Pages 1-408 Deaths Pages 410-524 Index. This Record of deaths was copied from the Connecticut Journal in 1939, under the Auspices of the W.P.A. sponsored by the Connecticut State Library. It was compiled under the supervision of Charles R. Hale.
Page 51
Reported: January 3, 1787
Maxson David Westerly Dec. 26, 1768

This is the first page of the Ancestry Hint Below. I always look at the first pages to see details of the Hint.

This seems to be a list of deaths taken from a newspaper. To see if I could find the primary source of this entry, I switched from Ancestry.com to GenealogyBank.com GenealogyBank has a good database of old New England Newspapers. I did a search with a few keywords and narrowed down to the year listed for this David Maxson death and found this. I’ll add that this did not come up when I searched for “David Maxson.” For some reason, his name was not tagged. I never would have found this without the date of publication listed on the Hale Collection item.

The Massachusetts Centinel, 13 Jan 1787, Saturday, Number 34 of Vol. VI, Page 135 (Must be larger volume page number as the publication was only about 4 pages long)
NEW-LONDON, December 29.
(11) The following melancholy accident happened at Westerly, on Tuesday last. – As Mr. David Maxson, of that town, was getting down from a hay-stack, a pitch fork which stood against the stack, ran into his bowels, just above the hip-bone. – He died in about two hours after, leaving a large family.

The date given for David’s death is “Tuesday Last” December 29, 1787. This conflicted with what was in the Hale Collection as it said Dec 26. I then consulted another favorite website, timeandate.com. There I pulled calendars for December 1786 and see that “Tuesday Last” would be December 26th. The 29th would have been Friday Last.

How cool is this article? I mean cool, but also totally sad. What a horrible way to die! Sorry, great, great, great, great, great grandpa!

To wrap this post up, I’ll tack on all the notes I have for David Maxson in my database in case any of them are new to someone.


Rhode Island, Vital Extracts, 1636-1899, Vital Records of Rhode Island, Vol. 05: Washington County: , Page 117
Westerly Births and Deaths
2-125 John, of John. Jr., and Thankful. Aug. 27, 1725
2-125 Matthew, of John. Jr., and Thankful. April 27, 1727
2-125 David, of John. Jr., and Thankful. July 21, 1729
2-125 Joseph, of John. Jr., and Thankful. March 23, 1731
2-125 Benjamin, of John. Jr., and Thankful. Feb. 21, 1733
2-125 Stephen, of John. Jr., and Thankful. May 3, 1735
2-125 Thankful, of John. Jr., and Thankful. July 16, 1737
2-125 Daniel, of John. Jr., and Thankful. Sept. 25, 1739
2-125 Joel, of John. Jr., and Thankful. May 28, 1742
2-125 Eleanor, of John. Jr., and Thankful. Jan. 24, 1748-9

Hale Collection: S.L.N. 149 Connecticut Journal, New Haven, CT, Death Records October 23, 1767-April 7, 1835, Pages 1-408 Deaths Pages 410-524 Index. This Record of deaths was copied from the Connecticut Journal in 1939, under the Auspices of the W.P.A. sponsored by the Connecticut State Library. It was compiled under the supervision of Charles R. Hale.
Page 51
Reported: January 3, 1787
Maxson David Westerly Dec. 26, 1768

The Massachusetts Centinel, 13 Jan 1787, Saturday, Number 34 of Vol. VI, Page 135 (Must be larger volume page number as publication was only about 4 pages long)
NEW-LONDON, December 29.
(11) The following melancholy accident happened at Westerly, on Tuesday last. – As Mr. David Maxson, of that town, was getting down from a hay-stack, a pitch fork which stood against the stack, ran into his bowels, just above the hip-bone. – He died in about two hours after, leaving a large family.

Swamp Yankee from Mystic, A Family, A Region and It’s Roots, By James H Allyn, Copyright 1980, Page 52-53:
David Maxson [7], son of John III and Thankful, was forty-seven at the start of the American Revolution. In April 1776 he carried powder and lead in his oxcart from Providence to the patriots in Boston, and in June was appointed to run lead for bullets. He lived in Hopkinton on the side of the hill south of the Meetinghouse. After serving as Deputy for two terms under the new United States, he fell off a load of hay onto a pitchfork and was killed. All of his sons except Paul moved to Rensselaer County in New York.

The Sons of the American Revolution, New York State Society, 1893-94, Prepared by Edward Hagaman Hall, Historian and Registrar, Page 124

  1. GREENE, DAVID MAXSON. 4165. Troy, N. Y. Civil engineer, director, etc. Born in Brunswick, N. Y., July 8, 1832.
    Son of Joseph Langford Greene and Susanna Maxson,
    grandson of David Maxson, Jr., and Sarah Stillman,
    great grandson of David Maxson and Abigail Greenman,
    great’-grandson of John Maxson, 3d, and Thankful Randall,
    great’-grandson of John Maxson, 2d, and Judith Clarke,
    greats-grandson of John Maxson and Mary Mosher, and
    great’-grandson of Richard Maxson, the emigrant.
    David Maxson was born in Westerly, R. I., July 24, 1729, and died there before 1800. He was appointed on a committee for Westerly pursuant to an act of the Legislature April 22, 1775, to procure powder, bullets and flints ; was receiver of moneys for paying bounties, 1780, and deputy from Westerly, 1781. Many others, brothers or cousins, participated in the war. Asa was Lieutenant ; Joseph, Lieutenant ; Phineas, Captain ; George, Lieutenant; Zaccheus, Ensign, and Jonathan, Deputy.

A partial record of the descendants of John Tefft, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and the nearly complete record of the descendants of John Tifft, of Nassau, New York .. Maria Elizabeth (Maxon) Tifft, 1856, The Peter Paul Book Company, Buffalo, NY, Pages 151 – 155
Outline of the Paternal Ancestors of Maria E. (Maxon) Tifft.
Fifth Generation.
David Maxson, born July 24, 1729, married Abigail Greeman. He was deputy in General Assembly of Rhode Island. Providence Plantation from Westerly, 1781.
David Maxson was appointed from Westerly to procure and receive the town’s proportion of powder, lead and bullets &c.

The Maxson family; descendants of John Maxson and wife Mary Mosher of Westerly, Rhode Island, Walter Leroy Brown R.F.D.1, Albion, N.Y., 1954 (Archives.org – no download avail but can screenshot image)
Page 8
Fourth Generation
15 (cross sign) John 4 Maxson (John 3, 2) and Thankful Randall (atthew, John) of Westerly. 10 ch.: Maxson;
76(+) John 4, “Egypt John”, b. Aug 27, 1725, m. Oct. 30, 1746 Sarah Burdick, b. Nov. 18, 1725, dau. of Samuel Burdick (Samuel, Robert) and Tacy Maxson (no. 22), m. 2 Mrs. Darcis (Niles) Davis, widow of Nathan Davis.
18 (+) David, b. July 24, 1729, d. about 1786, m. 1748 Abigail Greenman, d. Mar. 5, 1812 (G.S.R. Petersburg, N.Y.) dau. of Edward Greenman (Edward, Edward 1) and Sarah Clarke, b. Feb. 21, 1692, dau of Benjamin Clarke. David Maxson made bullets for the Rev. Way. See Nat. No 156510, Lineage No. 165,1938. David Maxson was appointed Deputy to the Gen. Assembly in 1775 to procure bullets, powder, lead and flint.

A Brief History of a few Early Settlers of Rhode Island and some of their Descendants, Mary S. Andrews, Farina, Illinois, 1910, Copyist – Daisy (Vincent) Schrader, June 5, 1926 Milton Junction, WI, The Second S.D.B. Church in America
(5) In the Revolutionary War David Maxson was appointed Deputy by the General assembly to procure ammunition for the colony of R.I. He was Deputy from 1781 to 1783. He made bullets. In 1777 was in the alarm list. Made bullets 1775 to 1776.
David Maxson was born at Westerly, July 24, 1729. he married Abigail Greenman, daughter of Edward and Sarah (Clark) Greenman.
He had ten children, born at Westerly:
Silas born December 29, 1750, married Sarah Clarke.
Asa born March 6, 1752, married Lois Stillman
Elizabeth born July 14, 1754, married Joseph Stillman
Paul born August 2, 1757, married Susannah Stillman
Chloe born October 15, 1759 married Samuel Clarke
Wealthy born March 9, 1762 married Wait Stillman b. 1758 d.1839
Sarah born December 223, 1763, married Geo. Stillman
David born August 29, 1766, married Sarah Greenman
Elanor born 1769, married Joshua Vincent
Abigail born
David Maxson and his wife Abigail, were baptized and joined the Westerly S.D.B. church August 4, 1753. Their daughter Elizabeth joined in 1771. Chloe in 1779, Wealthy in 1780, Elanor and Abigail March 25, 1886. Paul and David April 8, 1786.
David Maxson represented Westerly in the Colonial Assembly in 1765, 1781, and 1783. He was a farmer, and has been said to have been buried on his farm near Westerly. He died about 1786. His wife died March 5, 1812 and is buried in the village cemetery neat Petersburg, N.Y.
The town of Westerly, “April 17, 1776 – Voted that Mr.David Maxson be paid 32 shillings for bringing the Powder and Lead from the town of Providence.
June 4, 1776, – Voted that the store of Lead now in this town be run into bullets for firearms of several sizes, and Mr. David Maxson is appointed to run the same as soon as may be.

Westerly Rhode Island and It’s Witnesses, for Two Hundred Years 1626-1876, By Rev. Frederic Denison, A.M., 1878 Pub. by J.A. & R. A. Reid, Page 154-5
Chapter XXII
Roll of Representatives
From the town records, and from the published portions of the colonial records, we have gathered the following roll of such as represented the town in the General Assembly. As abbreviations, “As.” stands for Assistant ; and ” De.” for Deputy.

  1. De. James Babcock, Jun.
    ” David Maxson, 2d.
  2. Gov. Samuel Ward.
    De. Capt. George Stillman.
    ” David Maxson.


24 Dec 2020: A Vintage Family Letter to Santa December 24, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 8:26 am
Tags: , ,

While unboxing my Christmas decorations this year, I came across this little gem. As of today, it’s 44 years old! It’s a note I wrote to Santa when I was six. I have to say, I was using some pretty hefty language for a six-year-old, and I highly doubt anyone helped me with it.

Little Jennifer’s letter to Santa

Dec 24, 1976

Dear Santa Clause:

I hope you’re wife is feeling well.  Fill my stocking well with candy. After you fill my stocking well with candy, I hope you will give all mankind presents. I think you will have a Merry Christmas.

Signed    Jennifer Geoghan

No forgeries.  Whoever forgers an answer to this letter will be persecuted with the fullest rigor of the law.

It’s sweet I wanted presents for all mankind. Of course, that was after I got my candy. A kid’s gotta have priorities after all. Wink wink.  I must have been suspicious of my parents, hence the warning to potential forgers.

Merry Christmas to all our family members out there, near and distant. May Santa fill your stocking well with candy and give presents to all mankind.



15 Dec 2020: Poems by the Dead December 15, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 6:35 pm

One of the family items that came my way this year were these papers, two poems written by my great aunt Sylvia. As a writer myself, I find it a little fascinating to read words written by a long-dead relative. It’s like opening a small window into their soul, much more than any photograph could ever provide.  Here’s a photo of Sylvia.

Sylvia (Wells) Eccleston

Sylvia (Wells) Eccleston (1884-1969) was the daughter of Williams Rogers Wells and Pauline Rudiger (Stillman) Wells.  This first poem by Sylvia, is about her mother, Pauline. Here’s a photo of Pauline.

Pauline Rudiger (Stillman) Wells

My Mother

Always will you seem to me

Just as you always used to be

Never hurrying – always mild

Ever loving me a child

Years have passed – days go by

Where I needed you, you were always nigh

Ready to soften life’s hard ways

Trying to gladden life’s long days

I see you with your hair so white

With your eyes of blue shaded light

Your features as in a cameo set

These are of the past, yet I see

you still with me as you used to be

Thought is a very wonderful thing

For my thought of you will always bring

Your face – your love – your spirit true

Are all before me when I think you, mother of mine.

This second poem is an ode to May.

Month of May

Glorious day with skies of blue

Billowing clouds, blending too.

White and blue with golden ray

Beautifully telling – this is May

Did in the sky, where clouds do meet

There are little angels oh so fleet

Flying gladly in their may

Telling each other this is May

Can’t you hear them as they sing

Knowing it’s joy that they bring

Joy and gladness is what they say

The reason why is May

As we wander the brook

Peeking out of every nook

Posies modest flowers gay

Smiling up. This is May

Thinking thus as we wander along

Voice and heart filled full of song

How we’d always like to say

Sunshine and joy – this is May

Has anyone else ever come across little poems like these?



11 Dec 2020: Catching up on my Recipe Pile December 11, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 10:50 am
Tags: , ,

Time to catch up on some recipes I’ve collected this year.  You know how much I love a good Indian Pudding recipe. First, I’ll start with a little Indian Pudding history curtesy of an article I found in my Yankee Magazine.  Here is a transcript of the article.:

It might not be pretty, but few New England desserts can compete with the historical pedigree of a bowl of warm, spicy Indian pudding. The dish got its start when early colonists brought with them to America a fondness for “hasty pudding”–an English dish made by boiling wheat flour and water until it thickens into porridge. Without wheat, the homesick settlers adapted by using native cornmeal, known as “Indian flour,” and changed the name of the dish to reflect its new main ingredient. Later, milk from New England’s flourishing dairy industry replaced the water, and spices and molasses, a plentiful and affordable sweetener, were added. The result, baked in a slow oven for hours, was a cold-weather classic, born of homesickness and fed by what was available and affordable, resulting in a unique combination of New England flavors.

Today, we still look forward to steaming bowls of wobbly, fragrant, perfectly golden-brown pudding, served either plain or topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, creating a bonus slurp-worthy sauce as it melts. Recipes are plentiful, but if you’re looking to make an authentic version at home, Kathleen Wall, Plimoth Plantation’s colonial foodways culinarian, suggests using an electric slow-cooker to mimic the dish’s original long, unhurried baking time. “The longer it cooks, the more liquid the gritty cornmeal absorbs,” she explains, “and the more it absorbs, the smoother the texture of your pudding.” For those with patience, the reward is sweet indeed.


  • Durgin-Park, Boston, MA
  • Student Prince, Springfield, MA
  • Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, Sudbury, MA
  • Concorc’s Colonial Inn, Concord, MA
  • Aunt Carrie’s Narragansett, RI
  • Cole Farms, Grey, ME
  • Paxtuxet Café, Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, MA

In another issue of Yankee, I found the recipe for Durgin-Park’s Indian Pudding.

Old-Fashioned Durgin–Park Indian Pudding

For many, the recipe for Durgin–Park Indian pudding, served warm and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, is the gold standard. In January of 2019, Durgin-Park closed its doors after more than two centuries of service. Learn more in One Last Taste of Durgin-Park.

Total Time: About 7 hours ( Hands-On Time: 30 minutes)

Yield: 8-10 servings


  • 1 cup granulated yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup black molasses
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lard or unsalted butter, softened, plus more for baking dish
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 cups (1 1/2 quarts) warmed whole milk, divided
  • Garnish: freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream


Preheat your oven to 450° and generously grease a 2-quart baking dish, preferably one made of porcelain or stone.

Whisk together the first seven ingredients and 3 cups of the warmed milk.

Bake until the mixture begins to bubble, about 10 minutes; then stir in the remaining 3 cups of milk. Reduce the heat to 275° and continue baking another 5 to 7 hours.

Serve warm with freshly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

One last recipe is from Moody’s

Moody’s Indian Pudding ( Recipe by Cynthia Hilton)

  • Ingredients
  • 1 quart milk
  • 5 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 eggs, well-beaten
  • 1 cup evaporated milk


Scald the milk with the cornmeal added; then mix in margarine, molasses, salt, spices, and eggs.

Pour into a well-greased dish. Add the evaporated milk, but don’t stir.

Bake 1 hour at 350°. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.


6 Dec 2020: Letting Go can be a pain in the $%#@& December 6, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 5:31 pm

Since I’ve moved to North Carolina, I’ve been working on cleaning out the genealogy tubs. They’re full of odds and ends, and I’m sorry to say, have increased in size since moving in with Mom. One of the items she contributed to the tubs, is this: a copy of the Sunday School Times, dated January 1, 1927.

 In and of itself, it’s not remarkable. What is interesting is who it is addressed to.  It was mailed to my great grandfather, Williams R Wells. Ashaway must have been a pretty small town back then (not that it’s a metropolis now) because the only address for great grandpa is “Ashaway RI.”

I wondered how on earth this one copy of the paper survive the family for 90 years.  Then I realized Williams died on 26 Dec 1926. This paper was probably the first to arrive after he died. Is that why someone kept it? Sentimental reasons? It would have been kept by his son, and my grandfather, Elliot Wells.  When he died, his wife, and my grandmother, Florence, must have kept it. She passed away, it got kept by my mother and now I have it.

The question is, am I going to keep it.

I spent some time looking through the paper to see if there was some other reason we were keeping it, some family or local connection in some article but didn’t find anything. The only interesting item that I could see was this:

Though I can’t find that he’s a relation, there is an ad for a book by Amos R. Wells.  Seems he wrote the World’s Greatest Sunday School Commentary for 1927. I’d say that’s a stretch, but his book is for sale on Amazon today, so maybe it was the “Greatest.”

I’m sorry to say, in this day and age, you can’t keep everything. It seriously pains me to say this. I’d keep everything family related, but 2020 is not 1927. We’re very transient, not just moving from one house to another in Ashaway, but from state to state and across the country.  I’ve scanned the paper and will probably see about finding a home for it with someone (not me.)

Have you come across this situation, where you have to divest yourself of item’s you’d really rather keep, but practicality demands otherwise? It’s not fun, especially for a genealogist. At least we have technology on our side and can scan items into our digital files. It’s not the same though. You can’t see it because I’m typing this and your reading it, but I’m signing deeply with sadness and a sense of loss.  I’ve lived in seven states now and hope to move up to Rhode Island or Connecticut when I retire. Sadly, it will be without grandpa’s last paper.

Sorry, Gramps.


PS: Sorry I haven’t posted for a while. WordPress “updated” their site and I’m having a dickens of a time figuring out how to work with it.


3 Oct 2020: Business Cards from a bygone era October 3, 2020

Filed under: Geoghan Family — jgeoghan @ 8:08 pm
Tags: , , ,

While sorting through some family items, I came across these old business cards mixed in with some old large format negatives I’m slowly scanning. They must have belonged to my grandfather, John Geoghan, from when they lived in Brooklyn, NY. Because I love a good Now and Then, I looked up the addresses to see what they looked like today as seen on Google Maps. 

Here’s the first one: Samuel Greenberg – Building Demolishing New and Second Hand Lumber – Yard 160-8 Varick Avenue, Brooklyn NY

Samuel was in business in 1933, according to an ad I found for him in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle dated 8 Nov 1933 page 42.  This would fit with the time period that my family lived in Brooklyn, before they moved out to Long Island. 

Here’s what 160-8 Varick Avenue looks like today:

Not too terribly exciting.  I had a much more interesting result with my next business card.  This one is for Marcus Pildescu – Representing Marvel Oil Corporation – 61 North 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY.

You figure it’s going to be an old building, office, warehouse. Red brick perhaps. But no. It’s pink.

Yeah, not what I was expecting at all. What do you think old Marcus would think?!?!?!

The last card is for Henry Lichter – 945 59th Street Brooklyn, NY. His card doesn’t say what he does. Reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Mrs. Winterborn. If you’ve seen the movie, you may get my inside joke here. 

945- 59th Street is a house today.

I looked Henry up on Ancestry and found his WW1 Draft Registration card.

Henry was born in Russia and living at the same address about 1917. His draft reg card lists his occupation as Motorman, but I can’t read where he did this except that he was working in Jersey.  The 1930 census said he was a Retail Merchant – Trucks. 

Anyway, I thought this was an interesting slice of life of the folks my grandfather was interacting with back in the 1930s. Grandpa John had lots of jobs, but he did have an auto shop in Brooklyn for a while. When he moved out to Long Island, he worked for Republic working on airplanes during WWII and started a well drilling business. 



23 Aug 2020: Dead Bodies and Hens: Sometimes you just can’t win for losing August 23, 2020

Filed under: Genealogy,Rhode Island,Wells Family — jgeoghan @ 7:04 pm
Tags: , , ,

Look! More gems from Newspapers.com.  I should be getting a kickback for all the promotion I’ve been giving them recently. Sad to say, that’s not the case. Here are two fun stories I found concerning the Wells family.

My great grandfather, Williams Rogers Wells, led an interesting life. Seems I’m always stumbling across little tidbits like these.  You won’t know it from his pictures. He looks like such a quiet and mild-mannered gentleman.

Williams Rogers Wells (1855-1926) in front of the old Wells House in Ashaway, RI.

The first article I found has him finding a dead body in the Ashaway Schoolhouse in September of 1922.

Norwich Bulletin (Norwich, CT) Sat 9 Sep 1922, Page 2

Norwich Bulletin (Norwich, CT) Sat 9 Sep 1922, Page 2
Thursday afternoon about 4:45 o’clock, David E. Lowe, 63, of Oak street, Ashaway, Janitor of the Ashaway school building was seized with a heart attack while at work. He was burning papers in the furnace and was accompanied by his granddaughter to the building getting the building in readiness for the opening of school. The granddaughter saw him fall to the floor and supposing he had fainted went to William R. Wells for assistance. Thomas Larkin and Mr. Wells went to aid, but found that death was instantaneous. The medical examiner of Hopkinton was out of town, so Dr. M H. Scalon of Westerly was called, and permission was given to remove the body to Mr. Lowe’s home on Oak Street. (more to the story, but just bio of the deceased)

The second item is the account of the theft of hens from Williams’ hennery. (Hennery is so obscure a word that spellcheck keeps telling me I’m spelling it wrong!) Turns out someone was attempting to pawn off Williams purloined poultry for a pittance!

Norwich Bulletin (Norwich, CT) 12 Feb 1916, Sat, Page 6

Norwich Bulletin (Norwich, CT) 12 Feb 1916, Sat, Page 6
In the case of the State, John R. Wilcox, complainant, vs. Silas Randall of Hopkinton, charged with stealing four fowls from the hennery of William R. Wells at Ashaway, Jan. 24, the defendant retracted his former plea of not guilt and pleaded nolo. Attorney Harry B. Agard stated that Randall stole the hens from the Wells place and sold them to Mrs. Charles Serra of Pierce street for the sum of $1.75. Mr. Wells valued the birds at $16, as they were prize stock. When asked if he had anything to say for himself, Randall replied that he had not. When questioned by the court he admitted that he was arrested three years ago for breaking and entering at Matunuck beach and that he was arrested once before for being intoxicated. The court sentenced Randall to serve three months in the Providence county jail and to pay a fine of $50 and costs.

Williams raised prize birds. Here’s a photo of my grandfather Elliot behind the Wells house in Ashaway with some of the family birds.

Elliot Ellsworth Wells (1900-1951)

Now I’m in the mood for chicken for dinner.



21 Aug 2020: Ain’t life Grand August 21, 2020

Filed under: Genealogy — jgeoghan @ 6:22 pm
Tags: , , ,

Sometimes it’s nice to know it’s not just you.  I did a survey of my friends on Facebook to confirm that this week. The question I posed? Here it is:

Your father’s father is John.
John’s relationship to you is that he is your grandfather.
John has a sister Mary. What is Mary’s relationship to you?

Everyone replied Great Aunt. I bet you said that as well.

Cue the buzzer, because you’re wrong! The answer is Grandaunt!  Don’t believe me? Take it from Merriam-Webster.

How did this great (or should I say grand) realization hit me? I noticed it in my genealogy program.  At the bottom of the screen, it displays your relationship to the person you’re looking at. Here’s an example. Look at the bottom left.

Anywho, just thought I’d educate you as I was educated this week.



19 Aug 2020: It’s the end of the world … or so I’ve heard. August 19, 2020

These are trying times for all of us. Every race, every color, every creed and religion, 2020 has been a time to test your faith and shake the pillars on which you’ve built your life.  Personally, I enjoy a good storm. Change comes on the wings of the storm and I do enjoy change. Me? I’m a little bit of an optimist, and a lot of genealogist, so I see things a little different than my friends. So, when I see mutterings on Facebook among said friends, wondering and considering if we are indeed entering those end times spoken of in the Bible, I chuckle a little.

Not that I don’t believe in Revelations. I do, indeed. I just have a broader perspective on the end times, given to me courtesy of my 7th great grandmother, Ruth (Hubbard) Burdick (1640-1691), daughter of Samuel Hubbard and Tacy Cooper.

Picture this. The year is 1652 (give or take a year or two). The wilderness of Rhode Island. The world around you is going to heck and a handbasket. The foundations on which you built your world are crumbling and all that you hold dear is threatened. This was Ruth’s situation.  Let’s sit back for a second and read a letter she wrote to her parents and remember that, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

FROM: The Early History of Narragansett, By: Elisha R. Potter Jr. Published MDCCCXXXV, Collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society Vol. III, Page 117-118
The following letter was written from Westerly, August 4, 1666, by Mrs. Ruth Burdick, to her father, Samuel Hubbard, at Newport. Mr. Hubbard was born in England, in 1610, and came over before 1636. Of his daughters, Ruth married Robert Burdick, … Mr. Hubbard’s daughter Ruth had joined Mr. Clarke’s church In 1652, when about 18 years old.

“Most loving and dear father and mother, my duty with my husband and children presented unto you with all my dear friends. My longing desireis to hear from you, how your hearts are borne up above these troubles which are come upon us and are coming as we fear; for we have the rumors of war, and that almost every day. Even now we have heard from your island by some Indians, who declared unto us that the French have done some mischief upon the coast, and we have heard that 1200 Frenchmen have joined with the Mohawks to clear the land both of English and of Indians.But I trust in the Lord, if such a thing be intended, that he will not suffer such a thing to be. My desire and prayer to God is, that he will be pleased to fulfil his promise to us, that is, that as in the world we shall have troubles, so in him we shall have peace. The Lord of comfort, comfort your and our hearts, and give us peace in believing and joy in the Holy Ghost. Oh that the Lord would be pleased to fill our hearts with his good spirit, that we may be carried above all these things! and that we may remember his saying, When ye see these things come to pass, lift up your heads, knowing that your redemption draws nigh. Then if these things be the certain sign of our Lords return, let us mind his command,that is, pray always that ye may be counted worthy to escape all these things, and to stand before the son of man. Let us have boldness to come unto him in the new and living way which he has prepared for us. Through grace I find the Lord doth bear up the spirits of his in this place, in some comfortable measure to be looking above these things, the Lord increase it more and more unto the day of his appearing, which I hope is at hand. Dear father and mother, the Lord hath been pleased to give us here many sweet and comfortable days of refreshing, which is great cause of thankfulness, and my desire is that we may highly prize it, and you with us give the Lord praise for his benefit. I pray remember my love to all my dear friends with you in fellowship. Sister Sanders desires to be remember to you all, so doth sister Clarke. Your loving daughter, to my power,

Yes, Ruth contemplated if she was living in the end times. The native folk were less than happy with the English invaders. 1200 French were being even more French than usual. Given her circumstances, she certainly had good reason to look toward Heaven for some divine rescue squad.  But, alas, none came. Personally, I subscribe to 1 Thessalonians 5:2 which says “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” Basically, the thief, like all good thieves, comes unannounced.  AKA you ain’t gonna see him coming.

I think R.E.M., one of my favorite bands, said it best when they sang “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.” Here in 2020, Let’s all get a little perspective and remember that if the world didn’t end in 1652 for Ruth, we’ll probably survive to see 2021 feeling fine.

In the meantime, I think I’ll have me a glass of wine and watch me some Netflix to pass the time till Jesus comes to take me home.  Think he’s seen Tiger King yet?



16 Aug 2020: A Series of Unfortunate Events August 16, 2020

With my new membership with Newspapers.com, I’ve come across some startling events in the lives of my family.  First is one involving my great, great, great grandfather, Brig. General Clark Crandall (1785-1862) and happened in 1819. Here it is:

The Evening Post (New York, NY) 24 Nov 1819, Page 2

The Evening Post (New York, NY) 24 Nov 1819, Page 2
GENEVA, (N.Y.) Nov. 17.
Melancholy accidents. – Col. Clark Crandall, member elect of the legislature for Steuben and Allegany, was accidentally shot through the thigh by and intoxicated Indian, at Rushford, Allegany co. on the 2d ins. The ball passed through the chamber floor, broke the thigh of Col. C. who was in the upper story, and lodged in his body. Hopes are entertained that the wound will not prove mortal.

Since he didn’t die for quite sometime later, I guess he lived. But still, how strange!

Here’s another interesting and frankly sad event that happened to my great-granduncle, Peter Kehoe (husband of my Catherine Geoghan) in 1885.

Connecticut Western News (North Canaan, CT) Wed 8 April 1885, Page 4

Connecticut Western News (North Canaan, CT) Wed 8 April 1885, Page 4

The second floor of the storehouse of the Cowles Paper company at Unionville, Conn, gave way last Friday afternoon, precipitating many tones of baled rags to the floor below. Peter Kehoe, a laborer, 35 yers old, was caught by falling timbers and the heavy bales and killed. He was under several tons and it took until midnight to recover his body. He leaves a wife and five children.

YIKES! How horrible! I can’t even imagine what this must have been like for Peter and Catherine lift behind with five children.  Apparently, they sued the Cowles Paper company, as I found this when I followed up for my details.

Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) 22 Apr 1886, Page 2

Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) 22 Apr 1886, Page 2

Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) 22 Apr 1886, Page 2
Payment for a Life.
In the superior court yesterday afternoon the case of Wynne, administrator, vs. the Cowles Paper company was on trial. On Fast day 1885, a building owned and occupied by the Cowles Paper company fell causing the death of Peter Kehoe. Mr. J.F. Wynne was appointed administrator of the estate and in this capacity brings suite for $5,000 as damages resulting from the death of Kehoe. The plaintiff introduced testimony to show circumstances attending the accident and the death of Kehoe and will endeavor to prove criminal negligence on the part of the company in leaving the building in unsafe condition.
Briscoe and Andrews for the plantiff and Chamberlin, White & Mills for defendant. The case will probably occupy most of to-day.

I wonder if Catherine and the kids ever saw that $5000? I certainly hope so.



10 Aug 2020: An Unexpected Treasure August 10, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 6:50 pm

As a genealogist, you learn to accept the fact that some things are beyond your ability to find. One of these things is faces, the faces of your ancestors. Photos of them probably once existed, but have been lost to the ravages of time and relatives that don’t care as you do.

Let’s observe a moment of silence in remembrance and also a silent prayer that those same relatives will mend their ways and see the genealogical light. Sigh.

So, you can imagine my surprise when my new membership with Newspapers.com provided me with a photo of my Great, Great Grandmother. In the New York Daily News, no less!

Here she is, Catherine (Green) Erbig:

Daily News (New York, NY) 12 Jul 1936, Page 18
Mrs. Charles Erbig of Ashaway, R.I., tops Mrs. De Weese by 11 grandchildren. She has 45 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Photo, from a snapshot, shows her with two of her great-grandchildren.

Can you imagine! 45 grandchildren! God Bless her! And what a blessing to me to find this photo of her to share with my cousins, and as you can imagine, I have a lot of Erbig cousins!

When I renewed my Ancestry.com membership last week, it included a membership with Newspapers.com and Fold3. However, I discovered that about half of the items I was looking for on Newspapers.com were coming back as not available to see with my basic membership. I was hemming and hawing about the $29 to upgrade my membership, but finding this photo makes me feel better about that $29. I’d certainly have paid $29 just for this great photo.



9 Aug 2020: House for Sale … back in 1916 August 9, 2020

Filed under: Wells Family — jgeoghan @ 6:18 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’m in the process of helping my mom sell her house in Florida and buying a house up here in North Carolina for us. Having never bought or sold a house before, I can tell you one thing I’ve learned. Real Estate sucks. I used to be a fan of the show Love it or List it, but have since stopped watching it completely. What can I say, I’ll leave the position of Real Estate Mogul to someone else.

My consultation it all this? It seems my great grandfather (Williams Rogers Wells) tried to sell our family home in Ashaway, Rhode Island back in 1916. Since it wasn’t sold for another 40 years, I assume his attempts at selling the home failed.  I was quite surprised to learn this afternoon that he had listed the home for sale as I’d never heard this before. While trolling around on Newspapers.com, I came across this:

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle – Brooklyn NY – 28 May 1916 Page 56

I guess advertising in the Ashaway, RI area wasn’t going to do it as this ad ran in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY) I wish they’d listed a price to get an idea what he was asking. It was a grand old house.  Here is the same house from family photos. It sat right on Route 3 in what is now Crandall Field.

Wells House, Ashaway, RI

I can only wonder what prompted Williams to put the house up for sale. The 1915 Rhode Island State Census done the year before this ad ran, shows he still had a houseful of family.

1915 Rhode Island State Census, Hopkinton, Wash Co., RI
William R. Wells (Head) Age 59 … born in US … Occ: Farmer, poultry
Pauline R. Wells (wife) Age 59 … born in US
Sylvia A Wells (daughter) Age 30 … born in US
Forest A Wells (son) Age 24 … born in US … Occ: Civil Engineer
Dorothy P Wells (daughter) Age 21 … born in US
Nathaniel D. Wells (son) age 16 … born in US
Elliot E. Wells (son) Age 14 … born in US
William R Wells (son) Age 26 … born in US … Occ: Retail Salesman, hardware

Was it financial considerations and he needed cash? It could be. We know that the family’s fortunes were up and down. Whatever the reason, it must have stabilized since Williams lived another 10 years and died in this house in 1926. I suppose I’m happy that he got to live out the rest of his life in his home and wasn’t forced out of the house his father built.


9 July 2020: An Unexpected Discovery July 9, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 9:19 am
Tags: , , ,

As is with most things in life, you stumble across new discoveries while searching for something completely unrelated. I was working on some research on the movements of the Hopkinton, RI Militia during the Revolution when I found the article below on Samuel Hubbard. As when I Googled it, I found it had not been transcribed and put online, I decided to do so for my fellow descendants of Mr. Hubbard. It’s a neat read as people just don’t write like this anymore.

Below here are links to PDFs of the Title Page of the Document and also to the article itself, if you’d like to add them to your genealogical library.

Samuel Hubbard – The Narragansett Historical Register Vol II The Narragansett Historical Register TITLE PAGE

Samuel Hubbard – The Narragansett Historical Register Vol II

The Narragansett Historical Register (a Magazine) Volume II. 1883-84, James N Arnold, Editor, published by the Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, Hamilton, R.I., Pages 97-101



The early settlers of Rhode Island were the unflinching advocates of Religious Liberty. “Thrice burned in the furnace of affliction,” their colony shone more resplendent in the constellation of States than all beside. Indeed, Rhode Island was the “Lone Star” in the benighted cause of religious emancipation; and if wise men sought her light, it was because the rays of her glory were the gleams of “Hope,” for the future liberties of man. Unmarred amid the shower of insulting missiles from her sister colonies, unterrified by their hostile encroachments, with her eye fixed on the steady light of truth, her course was onward; and now the guiding star of our fathers has become as the sun, to shed the broad beams of religious freedom over the whole earth.

It was an important era in the history of the world when the settlers of Rhode Island began their work; and few were found to participate in their labors, or incur the dangers of the course they were led to pursue in their zeal for a better state of things. Their lives were therefore the more worthy of being cherished in the memories of their descendants, and of all lovers of freedom throughout the world. There were some whose modesty or peculiar avocations, caused their names to be left in comparative obscurity, who were nevertheless active in the support of the cause of truth and liberty, and who were not a whit behind the foremost of the worthy men whose names figure largely on the page of history. Among such was the subject of the present sketch.

Samuel Hubbard was born in England, in the year 1610, and at the age of twenty-three years he embarked with a company of adventurers for the shores of New England, where he arrived thirteen years after the landing of the first company of the “glorious Pilgrims of Plymouth.” At Salem he became acquainted with the celebrated founder of the colony of Rhode Island, who came over three years before him, which ripened into a life long friendship of the closest kind. On the 15th of October, 1635, he in company with about one hundred men, women and children started for the Connecticut River, where land was more fertile and plenty, and as they marched slowly along, they made the wilderness to resound with their songs of praise, the Indians following, and looking on in silent admiration. Ere they reached the place of their destination, winter came on, and their sufferings became so intense that some died from want of life’s comforts and many returned by water to Boston, till the next spring. But Mr. Hubbard was of the number of those who remained at Windsor during the long, tedious winter, subsisting upon acorns, malt, and such other grains as he could procure of the savage and warlike tribe of Indians around. Such were the circumstances under which Mr. Hubbard began an eventful career. But there was one whose acquaintance he had made in the journey who was calculated to cheer him under all these difficulties. This person was a young woman from Dorchester, Mass., a member of one of the families belonging to the company and a member of the church at Dorchester. They were married soon after their arrival. They were not long in learning that sufferings were calculated to render them mutually dear to each other and lighten the burden of hardships and cheer the path of duty. The church at Weathersfield, of which he was a constituent member, was without a settled pastor, and contention, animosity and strife crept in and so affected some outside, even that they concluded to move to other parts. Accordingly, in May, 1639, a small company of them went to Springfield, Mass., and he was of the five men who formed the first church in that place. But Mr. Hubbard’s repose was of short duration, for in 1642, a dispute arose between Massachusetts and Connecticut relative to Springfield, both claiming the territory, and the controversy regarding boundary terminating in favor of Massachusetts, she commenced a system of persecution against all who dissented in any way from the Puritan creed. This affected Mr. Hubbard, as he and wife had become Baptists, and now were obliged to move from their home and seek a new residence to escape the laws of Massachusetts, which had been passed against Ana-Baptists, the penalty of banishment being executed against them for adherence to their principles. Therefore in 1647 Mr. Hubbard removed to Fairfield. But a change had, in the meantime, taken place in Connecticut, and new laws prevented him from enjoying liberty of conscience there. In his journal he says that God first led his wife to embrace Baptist principles, and that she was twice brought before the public to answer to them, and we both were threatened with imprisonment in the Hartford jail if we did not renounce or remove, when he says that Scripture came into our minds, “If they persecute you in one place, flee to another.” Mr. Hubbard, therefore, satisfied of his duty, determined to leave the colony of his adoption and remove to some other part of the country. He consequently went to Newport, R. I., and became a member of the First Baptist Church, under the care of Dr. Clark, Nov. 3, 1648, organized in 1644, being the second Baptist Church in America. It contained at the time he joined but fifteen members, including the pastor.

The names of the male members have been preserved by Mr. Hubbard, and are as follows:

Joseph Clark, Leading Elder.

Mark Luther, Joseph Clark, Nathaniel West, John Peckham, Wm. Vahan, John Thornton, Thomas Clark, Wm. Weeden, Samuel Hubbard.

Mr. Hubbard continued his connection with this church for more than twenty years, during which time he was an active and devoted Christian, He wrote many letters and his correspondence extended to the most of the distinguished men of his day, both in Europe and America. Several hundred of his letters were carefully copied into a journal, which contained also a history of all the principal events of the colonies from 1641, to the time of his death, a period of about forty-seven years. From this journal Mr. Backus acknowledges having obtained much of the information contained in his history of the Baptists in New England. He also acknowledges his obligation to Mr. William Hubbard (brother probably of Samuel), a minister of the Congregational Church, who wrote the history of the Indian wars, etc. Mr. Hubbard took an active part with the Baptists of Rhode Island and Providence in the conflicts which ensued with Massachusetts, in relation to the persecuted Baptists, and when the storm of persecution was bursting upon them in all its fury, he was chosen and sent to Boston to plead the cause of the innocent and afflicted. Few men, probably, did more in that day to promote sound religious views and consistent Scripture practice. He was a zealous, hard worker for the truth of God, and aided in the organization of a number of churches, the last of which was the first Seventh Day Baptist Church at Newport, R. I., formed December, 1671. Though he lived in an age of great trials and difficulties, yet he bore all the hard ships with a becoming fortitude and at last laid down his head upon the bed of death without doubting the promises of Him he had all his long life endeavored to serve. He passed to spirit life in 1689, in his 79th year, leaving Tacy, his companion, to walk alone in her old age for a few years longer.

The Rev. Samuel Hubbard had children by his wife Tacy:

  1. Samuel, who died. Age 21 years. His only son.
  2. Bethiah, who m. Joseph Clarke, Jun. Had large family in Westerly.
  3. Ruth, who m. Robert Burdick.
  4. Rachel, who m. Andrew Langworthy. Had large family in Newport. —Backus.

Mrs. Tacy Hubbard died about 1697. It is not known definitely where Elder Samuel and his wife are buried. —7th Day Mem., Vol. 1, page 157.


11 June 2020: Rogers Family in New London’s Old Burial Ground, Ye Townes Antientest Burial Place June 11, 2020

Filed under: Cemeteries — jgeoghan @ 8:17 am
Tags: , , ,

Here’s another post cleaning out my backlog of accumulated genealogical material. This is a neat article that appeared in the New London County Historical Society Newsletter in the March 2014 issue. As a member of the NLHS, I received a copy in the mail. As a side note, they are a wonderful society to belong to, with great functions and newsletters. I highly recommend a stop by the Shaw Mansion on your next trip to NL.

The article here deals with the Rogers family buried in New London, though not my direct line ancestors, I enjoyed the article very much.  Here’s a link to the cemetery in question on FindAGrave.com: https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/1976226/ancient-cemetery

The James Rogers first mentioned below, who came to New London between 1656 and 1660, was James Rogers Sr. (1615-1687) husband of Elizabeth Rowland. The Author is indeed correct that keeping track of the many Rogers’ with the same first names is difficult. I tend to give birth and death dates along with spouse, just to make sure we’re on the same leaf of the family tree. In my case, James Sr is my 7th great grandfather.  I will break into the article with notes of slightly more basic identification of the Rogers family members. I’ve also inserted links to memorials on FindaGrave.com so you can see photos of the headstones.

Hats off to Patricia M. Schaefer, author of this wonderful article for her scholarship and wonderful writing!

New London County Historical Society Newsletter, March 2014

“Ye Towne’s Antientest Buriall Place” The Rogerses

There were numerous members of the Rogers family in eighteenth-century New London, all apparently descended from the first James Rogers who came to New London sometime between 1656 and 1660. Writing in the mid-nineteenth century, historian Frances Caulkins said, “Perhaps no one of the early settlers of New London, numbers at the present day so great a throng of descendants as James Rogers.” (202) He and his wife had five sons, all of whom had several to many children. Since they followed the usual pattern of using family first names, it is very easy to mix up, say, one James (or Samuel, or John, or Jonathan, or …) with another. Joshua Hempstead the diarist frequently used occupation to distinguish them, such as James Rogers Mariner (Aug. 20, 1743) and John Rogers Cooper (July 10, 1745). There was also Jonathan Rogers Stick, who had a wooden leg (Dec. 28, 1731).

In this article, we will be covering the relatively few members of the Rogers family who have headstones in the Ancientest Burial Ground. Almost all of them come from the James (son of the first James) branch of the family. (MY NOTE: James, son of the first James, would be Capt. James Rogers Jr. 1652-1714, husband of Mary Jordan.) The one man who does not belong to that branch of the family was named, inevitably, James. This James was the son of Joseph Rogers of Poquoyaug (now the Pleasure Beach area of Waterford). James was born in 1672 in New London. (  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11367761/james-rogers ) He married Sarah Stevens (  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/15115287/sarah-rogers ) of Killingworth on March 27, 1699, and they had nine children. Hempstead records in his diary on July 22, 1721, ”James Rogers of Poguoyoag Son of Jos Rogers was buried. died yesterday of a Swelling his Crotch & lower parts yt Stopt his Water &c. he hath had it but about a Week.” He was 49. The Rogers genealogy has a different explanation of his death, “He was killed by the dischage of a gun set by the Indians to kill a fox … “ This might have been a different James Rogers, or apocryphal. It would certainly have been more acceptable to Victorian sensibilities than Hempstead’s version.

The gravestones of the first three members of the James Rogers family buried in the burying-ground all have the wrong dates on their gravestones. The usual cause of such discrepancies was a long delay in having a headstone carved. If no one had written down the date, for instance in the family Bible, memory blurred and did not always produce the right date.

James’s stone is off by the most. ( https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11367747/james-rogers ) It says he died Nov. 6, 1714, aged 63. James was born February 15, 1652 (all dates in New Style) in Milford. He married Mary Jordan ( https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11367745/mary-rogers ) November 5, 1674. According to the Rogers genealogy, “He was called ‘mariner,’ and appears to have been a shipmaster to the last, but taking shorter voyages as he grew older.” The genealogy also paraphrases Caulkins’s story about his marriage: “He commanded the vessel which brought over the family of Jeffrey Jordan, and when he arrived he purchased the eldest daughter, Mary, and married her. In after life he was accustomed to say that it was the richest cargo he ever shipped and the purchase of Mary was the best bargain he ever made.” The Jordans had been Redemptioners, people who came over and then worked off their passage by being indentured servants. According to the genealogy, James was an active member of the Rogerene sect, and paid the usual price of fines and imprisonment for his beliefs. (This may or may not be accurate. See reference to the many Jameses, above. For more information on the Rogerenes, see the references below.) As for the actual date of his death, Hempstead notes on Sunday, November 8, 1713, “James Rogers Senr Died this mom about 9 clock. Mood 9th fair …. In ye aftem I went to ye funeral.” James died quite well off; his inventory filled three folio pages.

James’s wife Mary had predeceased him by several months. ( https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/32604315/mary-rogers ) Her gravestone says she died February 8, 1713, aged 62, but the 8th was the date of her funeral. Hempstead says on Saturday, February 7th, “James Rogers Senr his wife died this mom at James House. Sund 8 fair. I was att Ms Rogers’s funeral in the forenoon & at Meeting in ye aftern.” The reference to James’s house most like referred to her son James.

Mary may have been at her son’s house to nurse his wife, Elizabeth ( https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11367754/elizebeth-rogers ), whose stone says she died February 28, 1713, aged 32. Hemstead, however, notes on January 31st “James Rogers’s wife Died this mom. Sunda febry 1 … James Rogers Junr wife was Buried between Meetings. very Sharp Cold.” The Rogers genealogy gives a reference which stated Elizabeth’s maiden name was Harris, but says “no record has been found showing such to be the fact.” Apparently, the author could not find a date for the marriage, either. James was born February 2, 1675. He owned the covenant in 1701, and their children were baptized in the Congregational Church. After Elizabeth’s death, James joined the church March 15th. He was published to Freelove Hurlbut June 21 (as per Hempstead; the genealogy says June 29, which was not a Sunday) of that year. They moved to Norwalk, CT, and had several more children. James died July 9, 1735, in Norwalk.

The stones for all of the adults above are together, toward the rear of the burying ground (from the main entry on Hempstead Street) and somewhat to the left. Mary and Elizabeth are buried on either side of their husband. Both of those stones are in good condition. James’s is worn and faint. James, son of Joseph, is in front of their stones. His stone is also in good condition.

The remaining Rogers stones in the burying ground are all for children. Ichabod, one of James’s grandsons, and his wife Ruth have two children with headstones there. Ichabod was born February 14, 1727, and baptized February 19th. He married Ruth Shapley April 21, 1751. Ruth was well known to Joshua Hempstead. She made several jackets, pairs of breeches, and once a great coat for the Hemstead household from 1747-1749. Ichabod died in 1767, and is called mariner on the inventory of his estate. The children with headstones are Ruth, died June 26, 1752, aged 9 months ( https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11415458/ruth-rogers ), and Ichabod, died December 25, 1758, aged 1 year and 5 months. ( https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11367743/ichabod-rogers) It is possible they have other children buried in the burying ground; the genealogy lists seven children, at least three of whom died quite young.

Benjamin, ( https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11415456/benjamin-rogers ) another son of Ichabod, and his wife Rhoda (Coit), also have a child buried in the burying ground. Benjamin was born in 1754 and married Rhoda August 17, 1777. She was born in 1757. Benjamin died in 1814, and Rhoda in 1831. They had eleven children, several of whom died either young or unmarried. The only stone for that family in the burying-ground, however, is for their son Benjamin, who was born November 20, 1778, and died October 20, 1790, aged 13.

These are hard to find. I could not find Ruth’s at all. It is supposed to be to the left of the stone for Thomas Avery, which is dear. Ichabod’s is behind Avery’s. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11367743/ichabod-rogers  The lower part of it is spalled. ((MY Note: I had to look up the word ‘spalled’ as I’d never come across it before. In case you haven’t either, it means: Spall (noun) A chip, fragment, or flake from a piece of stone or ore.  Spall (verb) spalled, spall·ing, spalls. To break up into chips or fragments.  To chip or crumble.  [Middle English spalle.]  In this case, it means the lower part of his headstone has flaked off so it’s missing the top layer of stone that was carved.)) Benjamin’s stone is behind the stone for Adam Shapley, and is sunk fairly deep. All of these are to the left of the adult stones, near the table stone for Elizabeth Livingstone.

The last Rogers child in the burying ground is Josiah, son of Josiah and Lucretia. The father Josiah was the son of William (son of James, son of James, so a cousin of Ichabod). He was born in 1731 and was a successful privateering captain. He died of smallpox and is buried near the old lighthouse. His widow Lucretia married Nathaniel Shaw, Jr., and young Josiah, who died March 20, 1764, aged 7 years and 8 months, is buried with the group of Shaw graves. ( https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11415466/josiah-rogers ) (See the newsletter for May 2011, for more details.)

Patricia M. Schaefer


  • Caulkins, Frances Manwaring, The History of New London, Connecticut to 1860. New London, CT: New London County Historical Society, 2007.
  • Hempstead, Joshua, The Diary of Joshua Hempstead, 1711-1758. New London, CT: New London County Historical Society, 1999.
  • Prentis, Edward, Ye Antient Burial Place of New London, Conn. New London: Press of the Day Publishing Co., 1899.
  • Rogers, James Swift, ]ames Rogers of New London, CT, and his Descendants. Boston: Published by the Compiler, 1902.
  • Schaefer, Patricia M. A Useful Friend: A Companion to the Joshua Hempstead Diary 1711-1758. New London, CT: New London County Historical Society, 2008.

Caulkins and Schaefer both have information on the Rogerenes. For information from a Rogerene point of view, see Bolles, John Rogers and Anna Bolles Williams, The Rogerenes: Some Hitherto Unpublished Annals Belonging to the Colonial History of Connecticut. Boston: Stanhope Press, F. H. Gilson Co., 1904. Also available through archive.org.


4 June 2020: Updates on the Magonk Point Road Rogers Homestead in Waterford June 4, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 8:54 pm

It’s time to clean up some of the backlog I have of information I’ve collected on various subjects. This blog post is dedicated to the newest info on the Old Rogers home that used to be at 11 Magonk Point Road in Waterford, CT believed to have been first built by James Rogers Sr. (1615-1687). But first a call to anyone out there who might have any other pictures of this house they’d be willing to share. If you do have any, I’d love it if you could email me a copy for a future post on the house of our ancestors.  You’ll find my email on the “About Jennifer” tab here on my blog.

I received some interesting responses to the first post I did on the house. Here’s a link to that post:


One a previous post on the Rogers Fam that talked about the house, I had a comment from a man who said:

“Hello, I saw this post on 11 Magonk and felt I should offer a response. I grew up at 22 Magonk and was quite fond of the house. I too was horrified when I learned of the plan to tear it down but after talking with the present owner I saw why he had reached that decision. Numerous renovations and termite damage had compromised most of the main beams. After consulting a structural engineer and the Historical Society they concluded it was not sound. When the owner suggested saving some beams for the Society they responded there was nothing longer than 3 feet of any structural integrity and turned him down. Although the house is gone the point still has the same beauty that prompted James Rogers to settle there so many years ago.”

MYSTERY SOLVED as to what happened to the house. Still, such a shame to have lost such a wonderful family home to the wreckage of time and human neglect. This comment was left back in 2015.

I emailed him and he emailed me back with the following:

“In my youth Florence Merriam Morgan lived in the old house and we would love to go in and visit to hear stories of the old days. There were portraits of ancestors whose eyes followed you around the room. The box hedge garden was a frequent play spot as were the woods behind the house. The pond was a year-round source of fun as well as the beach. I practically lived on it.”

In 2016, I had a woman also leave a comment on the same post of mine, saying this:

“I am from the Rogers direct lineage. … I have personal notes from my mother’s cousin who traveled there within the past 10 years or so and she and her husband took pictures of it (The new house, not the original homestead). While they were there taking pictures, the owner came out and asked what they were doing?! They explained who they were and the owner brought them in to see the inside of the house. Apparently, they did keep the original foundation wall of the home and told my mother’s cousin that they knew that they were the first Non-Rogers family to ever hold deed to that property. The owners said that the basement was used many years ago for the cows when it got extremely cold. They felt that the stone wall which is still there is the original wall. It was part of the 234 acres at Great Neck which is now Goshen.”

I did some Google-ing today to see if anything new came up on 11 Magonk, and found it mentioned in a document called “Waterford 1998 PLAN OF PRESERVATION, CONSERVATION & DEVELOPMENT.” It has this on page 90, which says to me that the original home was still standing in 1998.

“Buildings and Sites That May Be Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places

  • 24 Avery Lane Rose house (and Puppet Theater)
  • 465 Boston Post Road Matthew Stewart house
  • 19 East Neck Road
  • 58 Gallup Lane
  • 33 Great Neck Road Nathaniel S. Perkins house
  • 21 Gurley Road Joshua Moore house
  • 4 Jordan Cove Circle Truman-Darrow house
  • 11 Magonk Point Road James Rogers house
  • 63 Rock Ridge Road
  • 314 Rope Ferry Road Millstone School
  • 317 Rope Ferry Road Chapman-Mackenzie farm
  • 334 Rope Ferry Road Camp View Motel
  • 28 Seventh Avenue J. E. Beckwith house
  • 16 and 30 Douglas Lane Douglas(s)-Morgan farm
  • 908 Hartford Turnpike Whipple farm
  • 1077 Hartford Turnpike Holt farm
  • 1144 Hartford Turnpike Lakes Pond Baptist Church
  • 1214 Hartford Turnpike Morgan store
  • 33 Lower Bartlett Road Austin Perry house
  • 413 Mohegan Avenue Parkway James Rogers farmhouse
  • 65 Upper Bartlett Road Bolles house
  • 51 Way Hill Road Walter Chappel house
  • 168 Waterford Parkway North Morgan/District 8 School
  • 94 Great Neck Road Gertrude Bezanson home
  • 6 Goshen Road Great Neck School”

I’d never heard of the James Rogers Farmhouse at 413 Mohegan Avenue Parkway in Waterford. Going to have to look that one up!  Here’s a link to the Document above, if you want to check it out for yourself: https://www.waterfordct.org/sites/waterfordct/files/file/file/plandevel.pdf

THE PAINTING: Back in 2013, I received an email from a woman who found me through my blog. She was in possession of the painting below.  This painting is a view of the house from the front side, the side not pictured in the photos I have of the house above. Her email said

“On a whim, I’ve been researching the house pictured in a watercolor that I bought on the opposite coast in California. It’s dated 1906 by M. H. Gussman and called Magonk Farm.  It may be of the James Rogers house pictured in your blog.  Unfortunately, it appears to be the side not shown in the photographs. I found a reference in The Watchman to William Gussman a Baptist minister in Connecticut.  William later married Florence, and they had a daughter Mary Hayward Gussman.  Her obituary says that she was a painter and art teacher.  There is an inscription on the back of the painting “Georgia from Momma, December 25, 1908.””

I believe she was right. I took a photo my cousin had taken of the house and the painting and compared them. The unusual shape of the upstairs windows is about the same, as well as their placement in the gambrel roofline and the position of the chimney.  Here are the photos I compared

WHO IS M.H. GUSSMAN? M.H. is Miss Mary Hayward Gussman.  Born 5 Oct 1877 in Alden, New York, she was the daughter of the Rev. William and Florence N. Hayward Gussman. She passed away 23 June 1952.  We know she was in Waterford at the end of her life as her obituary says she was living with her sister in Waterford for the last two years of her life.  We also know she painted watercolors as her obit mentions this as well.

Mary H Gussman Obit THE DAY 23 June 1952 part 1

Mary H Gussman Obit THE DAY 23 June 1952 part 2

Ironically enough, when I looked up Mary Hayward’s sister, whom she was living with in Waterford, I found on Ancestry.com a 1939 Waterford City Directory that has him listed under “Cemetery Memorials”  Monumental Works, Boston Post rd, opposite Jordan Cemetery.  I wonder, as I’ve walked through Jordan Cemetery, how many of those headstones were made by his company? What a fun little genealogical detour!

Other than her sister living in Waterford/Jordan Village, I can’t find any other connection between Mary and Waterford. Her sister lived on Niantic Road when Mary died there.

If you know what the connection is, why Mary picked our ancestral home to paint, I’d love to hear from you!



24 Mar 2020: It’s Census Time!! Yipee! March 24, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 5:26 pm
Tags: , , ,

Does anybody else get excited about a census year?

I know I do.  Or maybe I should say “You know you’re a genealogy geek when …..”

I just filled out the census online. The first time I’ve ever completed it electronically. Not too sure how I feel about it, but I was still able to sneak in a note to my future family. On the 2010 census, I wrote all sorts of notes about the family as we were in 2010 around the edges of the paper census I mailed in. I figure, what, they scan it and in 70 years it will be on Ancestry.com or the like for my future family members to see. Might as well put some fun facts about the family for them.

One the 2020 census, I said I was living with my mother.  A little white lie. I’m currently living in one of my company’s hotels in Charlotte, NC while I look for a place to live. Basically, I’m homeless. Because of that, I said I was living with Mom in Florida. There was a question like, do all members of the household always live here? I said no for me and was able to enter the note of why and said my old address in Orlando and was moving to Charlotte and mom was following me to Charlotte later in the year and “Hi” to my future family members.

One question I found odd was my ancestry. Don’t get me wrong, I love the question, but I found it odd that listing myself as “White” wasn’t enough. I had to add German, Irish, English and Slovakian.

So, am I the only one inserting messages t obe read in 70 years when the 2020 census is released to the public??



13 Mar 2020 – Do you recognize this woman? March 13, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 4:10 pm
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Hello everyone and happy Friday the 13th.

While sorting through piles of things to cast off as my family prepares to move north, I came across this framed photo.  Any idea who she is?  My mom and I are stumped.

She’s quite a woman.  I imagine her to be of strong moral fortitude, but also with a quick sense of humor.  Who knows.  I’d settle if anyone knew if she was a family member.  At the base of the photo is an address for a photo studio in Brooklyn.

As I type this, I’m in a mist of a mess. I’m moving from Orlando FL to Charlotte NC tomorrow. Great opportunity for me.  Probably just as well as work will be a disaster in the coming months.  They closed Disney and therefore our hotel will turn into a ghost town.

Let me know if you recognize my lady.





12-28-2019: Shoe Laces from the Past December 28, 2019

Over Thanksgiving, my mom asked me if I wanted anything out of a bag of assorted shoelaces she was getting rid of.  When I pulled them out, I found these very vintage laces. I suppose this proves how my mother has stuck to her delightfully thrifty New England roots and not tossed them out,  cause, you never know, you might need them someday. Guess she’s been in Florida too long as she’s tossing them now. She figures the tan box might even have originally belonged to her mother.  Both pairs are products of the Rhode Island Textile Company of Pawtucket, RI. The one in the blue packaging is dated 1985. I can only think my mom purchased them on Long Island where I grew up. Probably either the Caldor out in Rocky Point or over in Riverhead somewhere.

Textile companies hold an interest to me since the industry is so closely tied to the Wells family.  We owned, operated and worked in the mills of the Hopkinton area for many generations.  Shoelaces also remind me of line and or twine which reminds me of Ashaway Line and Twine where many members of my family worked and is also owned and operated by the Crandall’s, cousins of the Wells family.

I googled the Rhode Island Textile Company and was happy to see they are still in business, though from the view of their facility on Google Earth (see below) it looks a little quite.

The company is not in Pawtucket anymore. When I googled them, I discovered they’d moved to Cumberland, RI in 2016.  I found an article on The Valley Breeze website telling about the company and its move. Nice article, Ethan.

PAWTUCKET – Rhode Island Textile Company, which claims to be the largest and most diverse manufacturer of braided, knitted and woven elastic, cords and webbing in the U.S., is leaving Pawtucket and consolidating operations in Cumberland. The company’s 97,000-square-foot property at 211 Columbus Ave. in Pawtucket is listed on a real estate site for $1.9 million. Two buildings are located on 3.5 acres of land, according to the listing.

The company, first founded in 1913, is closing its side-by-side manufacturing facilities on Columbus Avenue in Pawtucket to do business at 35 Martin St. in Cumberland, where it already has a distribution facility. A visit to the facility Tuesday found signs of construction for new executive offices and landscapers cleaning up the front of the property.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien said he and City Council members met with R.I. Textile Company officials several times after learning they had bought another company and were looking to consolidate to one location. He said officials “did everything we could” to find a way to keep the manufacturer in the city. They offered tax incentives and stabilization agreements, among other things, but were unable to sway the owners.

From what he was told, company officials were looking to move to a more modern facility with room to grow, said Grebien. R.I. Textile Company officials could not be reached for comment this week.

Cumberland Mayor William Murray said he’s “very pleased” that the owners chose Cumberland as a place to settle in. “We are thrilled to have Rhode Island Textile in Cumberland,” he said. “We met with them two or three times to give them information they requested as they made their decision.”

The firm, he said, is adding a business to the town’s portfolio “that will help build up the Martin Street industrial area.”

R.I. Textile Company manufactures narrow fabrics like elastics cords, webbing, gear like parachutes, laces, and certain pet products like collars and leashes. The company makes shoelaces for New Balance and is the largest manufacturer of military specification laces used in military boots and women’s and men’s dress shoes.

The company is the parent of Westminster Pet, according to its website.

Knowing that the Pawtucket facility is for sale, Grebien said officials are looking to see if the owners will consider selling the property in pieces. The city sold a parking lot to the company 10 or 15 years ago and has had an agreement in place to share parking for soccer games at the McKinnon-Alves Soccer Complex, he said. If the parcel isn’t offered separately, the hope is to partner with the next buyer of the facility to keep using the lot for parking.

For more on Rhode Island Textile Company, visit www.ritextile.com .

(I tried the website, but it didn’t seem to be up and running anymore. Not a great sign.)

Anyway, I found my discovery of these vintage laces amusing.



12-26-2019: Continuing the tradition with Newport Style Johnnycakes December 26, 2019

As has become a Thanksgiving & Christmas holiday tradition with my mom and me, I cooked another Johnnycake recipe for our Christmas Breakfast.  I clipped this one from the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of Yankee Magazine.  I call these “Newport Style” Johnnycakes as they are the thin kind prevalent in that area of Rhode Island.

The recipe is pretty easy to follow. You mix together:

  • 2 cups white cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Cook over a medium heat. It’s a very runny batter. They say to pour 1/2 a cup into the pan at a time.  I found 1/2 a cup to be too much. I used a 1/2 cup solid measuring cup (not a liquid measuring cup) and filled it up to about 1/2 an inch from the top. I suppose the amount of batter you used depends on the size pan you use. I should have used a cast iron pan, but you can’t use them on my mom’s cooktop.  I used the solid measuring cup because it was easy to scoop out of the bowl. A liquid measuring cup would require me to pour from the bowl into the cup. As the cornmeal settles at the bottom, you have to stir up the batter each time you extract some for cooking. I found it best to stir, then scoop.

You only can make one johnnycake at a time so you have to keep the open warm and pop the ones you make into the oven so they keep warm while you keep cooking the others.  I thought this sounded odd at first, but you really do have to. Once you get the hang of it, it takes about 4 minutes to make one.

Even though I used a non-stick frying pan, I still put a little butter in the pan before cooking. When I tried without, it didn’t seem to cook right. I had to experiment on the first two to get it right. You really have to not pour the batter all in the center of the pan.  I found it worked best to start pouring in the center and then work out in a circular pattern.

Flipping is hard for me. I messed up a couple because they are so large and thin, you have to work hard at flipping them fully.

Cook time was very important. I used a kitchen timer to time them perfectly. Two minutes on the first side, one minute on the flip side and done.  Seemed to work perfectly every time.

Poured a tad too much syrup here. What can I say, I like syrup. I ended up cooking another one just to use up the syrup on my plate.  Mom liked them!

We really enjoyed these Johnnycakes! I’m thinking this recipe is going to be our go-to Johnnycake recipe from now on.

I’d love to hear comments on your Johnnycake cooking experiences and preferences!



9 Dec 2019: Apple Johnny-Cake and more Rhode Island Recipes December 9, 2019

In my continuing quest to familiarize myself with the food of my Rhode Island ancestors, I bought this cookbook on Ebay. It’s titled A Book of Favorite Recipes – The Johnnycake Center of Peacedale and is from 1994. I think it might be from Peace Dale, RI, but that Johnnycake center is spelled “Peace Dale,” not “Peacedale.”  Hard to believe it’s a typo.

Ahy-who, lots of good recipes for Johnny Cakes!  Another oddity is that they can’t seem to be consistent with their spelling of Johnny Cake!  You’d think they would, I mean, after all, is that not their whole raison d’etre?

Here are some of the recipes. I’ve scanned them out for you as well.

  • Old Rhode Island Johnny Cakes
  • Elsie’s Johnny Cakes
  • Oven JohnnyCake with Molasses
  • Custard Johnny Cakes
  • Rhode Island Johnny Cake
  • Lippitt Hill Johnny Cakes
  • Apple Johnny-Cake
  • Johnnycakes (Thin)
  • South County Johnnycakes
  • Indian Meal Pudding
  • Indian Pudding
  • Rice and Indian Bread
  • Brown Bread

I Baked!  On Thanksgiving, I made the Blueberry Molasses Cake I made last year. Super good. Used local blueberries I picked over the summer at a Blueberry farm a couple miles from my place here in Ocoee, FL. They were better than the frozen store-bought ones I’d used last year. They were too big and sank to the bottom of the cake.

The day after Thanksgiving, I made my mom Apple Johnny-Cake with the recipe I found in this cookbook. I was pretty good. I put maple syrup on mine. The apples were OK, but I think next time I’ll cook them first. Maybe season them in the cooking with some cinnamon and nutmeg.



12 Aug 2019: Genealogy Bits and Bobs of Randomness August 12, 2019

I’m clearing off some random papers from my desk today, items which caught my attention and I thought I’d share. First is a little tidbit from Yankee Magazine with some fun Rhode Island Trivia.

This item comes from Reader’s Digest, an article on silly state laws. Yes, it’s about Maine, but it’s about tombstones and the town of Wells (no known relation to our Wells family) and really, it’s very humorous.

Seriously, what would you advertise? Common sense dictates this law was passed because someone posted advertisement on tombstones there.



3 July 2019: Genealogy Odds and Ends July 3, 2019

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on a regular basis. I’ve been in computer transitions from one laptop to a new one. Always a bother.  In the meantime, here are a few bits and bobs I’ve come across.

ITEM ONE: I found this vintage stereoscopic photo of, of all things, a headstone in Buffalo, NY. From Forest Lawn Cemetery of the “Campbell Monument.” In all my gleanings through antique shops, I’ve never come across such a photo. Might be an interesting thing to collect if I happen upon another one. Has anyone out there ever seen a headstone photo like this before?

ITEM TWO: I enjoyed this article from Yankee magazine with funny pilgrim stories. I mean, how often do you come across funny pilgrims?

ITEM THREE:  While reading an old edition of Yankee magazine, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of advertisers with familiar family names.  Kenyon (Grills), Hubbard (Shoes) and Burdick (Restaurant). Nice to see we’re still kicking around.


Genealogy addict extraordinaire


30 June 2019: Yumm …. Johnny Cakes June 30, 2019

Filed under: Cooking,Johnny Cakes,Rhode Island — jgeoghan @ 6:45 pm

I came across another Johnny Cake recipe in the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of Yankee Magazine. Since I’ve been collecting them in order to find the perfect recipe, I thought I’d share it.  This one is forJohnny Cakes with Cranberry-Maple Syrup.  I find it interesting that they spell Johnny Cakes as one work (Johnnycakes.)  What do you think? One word or two?


Johnny Cake (two words) Lover