Helen Eborn Suggs

One of the nice things about family history is the connections made with other family members. Both through Ancestry and this blog I have connected with others who are related to and searching information on the same people. I recently connected with Stephanie Collier, the great granddaughter of Helen Eborn Suggs. Helen is the sister of Patience Perkins, and the daughter of Rose Grimes and Randall Eborn. Helen was born in North Carolina, and spent most of her adult life in Newport, RI. Helen had five children. There is more information on Helen and her family on the blog “David Perkins and Rose Grimes Families” posted January 15, 2018. Stephanie shared a picture of Helen. This picture had belonged to her grandmother, Anna. Thank you, Stephanie.

Helen Eborn Suggs
Helen Eborn Suggs



Helen was born July 12, 1881 in North Carolina, and died April 24, 1933 in Newport, RI. She is buried in the Island Cemetery Annex in Newport, and her grave is marked by a tombstone. You can find a picture of her grave on the Find a Grave website.

Spring is arriving in New England. Daffodils are in bloom, and tulips are beginning to say hello. It’s so nice to see the change of the seasons each year.

Until next time….


Remembering Bernie Johnson (1930-2019)

Funerals are a time to celebrate the life of the recently departed. It is also a time to connect with family and friends. It’s like a family reunion, although under more sober circumstances.

Yesterday we celebrated the life of Bernard F. Johnson. Bernard is the great grandson of Samuel and Emily Wallace (see posts of Samuel and Emily (Green) Wallace on April 29 and May 12, 2018). There are not many of the children of this generation left. Yesterday was a reminder to take the time to talk to the elders and hear their stories. I heard stories of what it was like to grow up poor in Monson and Palmer in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s; service in the military including the Korean War; a doo wop group (the Sultans) that was started by a group of young men starting to harmonize together for fun, and who then formed a group that performed at clubs and dances for a few years (two members are still alive); and the closeness of friends and family that is still there after decades of little contact with each other.

In Remembrance of Bernard F. Johnson Sr. (1930-2019)

Bernard Johnson

Bernard F. Johnson

Bernard F. Johnson Sr., 88, formerly of Peterson Rd., died on February 15, 2019 in Pittsfield. Born April 2, 1930 in Palmer, he was the son of Ralph E. and Beatrice M. (Wallace) Johnson. He was a lifelong resident and worked for a time at Jarvis and Jarvis and Mullins trucing. He spent 30 years as a trainer at the race track: Lincoln Downs, Great Barrington Fair and Northampton Fair. He served in the US Army during Korea and was a member of the American Legion Post 130. He is survived by his son Bernard “Mike” Johnson, Jr. and his wife Lisa of SC and his brothers Robert “Lobby” Johnson and his wife Mary of Monson, and Donald “Siddy” Johnson and his wife Jackie of Palmer and sister Beatrice Hinkle of CA. Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his siblings Ralph, Leroy, Kenneth, Richard and Charlie Johnson and Agnes Wallace. A graveside service will be Wednesday, February 27 at 11:0 a.m. at Oak Knoll Cemetery. Beers & Story Palmer Funeral Home has been entrusted with his arrangements. (Obituary on Beers & Story website)

The Sultans – Palmer’s own Doo Wop group

The Sultans
The Sultans about 1957

Back: Robert “Duke” Wallace, Ken Johnson, Couture
Front: Donald “Siddy” Johnson, Richard DeBoise, Fred “Red” Wallace

How many days until Spring? I’m ready!!
Until next time….

Marsh Lewis, A Patriot in the Revolutionary War

I started blogging one year ago – January 2018. My goal was to tell the stories of the ancestors of Ruth Andrews and James DeBoise. I have spent many years researching this family, and wanted to share the information.  I started writing the stories several years ago, but my progress was very slow. I needed to come to a satisfactory end of this work so that I could move onto other projects. Happily, this blog has helped me achieve my goal to share these stories.

With family history, the search is never complete. There is always more to learn, brick walls to break down, and mysteries to uncover. Last night I watched Henry Lewis Gates new season of “Finding Your Roots” on PBS. Guest Andy Samberg was able to identify his mother’s birth parents by building family trees through the clues DNA provided, and contacting those with close DNA matches to see who might have information to complete the missing pieces of the puzzle. This was exciting to me because that was the process I used in figuring out the birth father of Ruth Andrews, as well as the birth family of my mother’s great grandmother, Mary Jane Pickering. Researching family history is addicting, exciting, frustrating, rewarding, and just plain fun. Once you are hooked, it’s hard to let go!

During this past year, I have shared summaries of the information I have on the direct ancestors of Ruth and James. There is always more to share on the family – the aunts and uncles, cousins, as well as more on the direct ancestors of Marshall Frederick Cortis. During 2019 I will periodically share additional information discovered on family members; however, not as frequently as I posted during 2018. My direct ancestors have been haunting me, letting me know that I have been neglecting them for far too long. So I am going to be spending more time with my Smith, Osborn, Staton, Rice, and Cook family members.

Today, we are going to meet Marsh Lewis. He is Ruth Andrew’s 4th great grandfather on her father’s side of the family. I find him interesting because of his military service during the Revolutionary War.

In 1776, we had a lot of Patriots who strongly felt that they could govern themselves better in this New World than could the King of England. I’ve always admired those individuals and families who sacrificed so much to establish the democratic union known as the United States of America which has survived over 200 years. And although the politics are still contentious, which they have frequently been through the decades and centuries, we still manage to maintain this democratic union.

I have identified four of Ruth Andrews’ direct ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War. On her mother’s side of the family, Edward “Ned” Carter was an African-American Patriot, along with his four sons, who fought for the country’s freedom. And for his sons they were also fighting for their own freedom from slavery, which they obtained through their military service. On Ruth’s father’s side of her family, the Patriots included Marsh Lewis, Elisha Remington, Jr., and Steven Stowell.

Marsh Lewis, the son of Paul Lewis and Hannah Cushing, was born in Hingham, Massachusetts on October 28, 1749. He married Esther Hobart on June 26, 1780, while still serving in the military. Although I have not found his exact dates of service, I found records that he was in the military in 1777 (Battle of Saratoga), 1778, 1779, and 1780. Marsh had at least four children: Elizabeth, Esther, David, and Sally.

Battle of Saratoga, 1777 Photograph by Granger
Battle of Saratoga, 1777

Marsh applied for a pension in 1818 based on his Revolutionary War service. Congress had just made pensions available to soldiers who were in financial need, expanding the number of former soldiers who could receive pensions for their service. Taken from Marsh Lewis’s application for a pension for his service in the Revolutionary War:

I, Marsh Lewis, of Hingham, in the County of Plymouth and State of Massachusetts, do hereby testify and declare, that in the Revolutionary War, I enlisted in the public service for the term of three years, under Lieut. Amos Shaw of Abington, in Capt. Jacob Allen’s Company of Bridgewater, in Colonel John Bailey’s Regiment in the Massachusetts Line, on the Continental establishment; that I was at Saratoga*, when General Burgoyne surrendered with his army; afterward I think we marched to White Plains. That I continued in the public service, the regiment aforesaid, until I had served the full term of three years, for which I enlisted.
Marsh Lewis 16 April AD 1818
Attest: Abner Lincoln
Plymouth March 31st, 1818. Then personally appeared the above named Marsh Lewis & made oath that the above declaration, by him, subscribed is true in all its parts, according to his best recollections & belief before me.
Abner Lincoln
Just. Of Peace
We the undersigned, hereby testify that the above named Marsh Lewis, in consequence of his age & bodily infirmities, & indigent circumstances, greatly needs the aid of his country, as an old soldier, for the support of himself & his wife.
Moses Sprague, Caleb Gill, Selectmen of Hingham
Abner Lincoln, Martin Lincoln, Edward Thaxter, Thomas Loring and 6 others
I, Seth Thaxter, of Hingham, do hereby certify that I was at Saratoga when General Burgoyne surrendered, and frequently saw the within named Marsh Lewis and am confident that he was in Colonel John Bailey’s Regiment. Hingham April 6th 1818 Seth Thaxter

Marsh also indicated in his application that his “business” was a laborer, from which he was not making very much money. He also said he depended on private charity to support him and his wife. His pension was approved on the 5th of April, 1819 at the rate of $8 per month. He received back pay to April 1818.

In June 1819 a request was made of the Probate Court in Plymouth, Massachusetts to assign guardianship for Marsh Lewis in that he was unable to take care of himself. The request stated that he was incompetent to manage the pension he had qualified for and asked that Martin Lincoln, Esq. be assigned as his guardian. Marsh Lewis signed the request, which was approved.

Marsh Lewis died on February 5, 1832 at the age of 82. He is buried in Fort Hill Cemetery in Hingham.

* The Battle of Saratoga was two battles in Saratoga, New York that is referred to as the turning point of the Revolutionary War. The battles were fought in the fall of 1777 eighteen days apart. British General John Burgoyne won the first battle, but lost a large number of his troops. His forces were weak when he entered the second battle, and he was defeated and retreated. He surrendered ten days later. With the Patriots success at Saratoga, the French entered the War as Allies of the Patriots.

I hope 2019 brings you happiness, health, and fun searching your family history!

Until next time…….

Notable Ancestors of Ruth Andrews DeBoise: Richard Warren, Samuel Lincoln, and Reverend Peter Hobart

One of the genealogy shows on TV that I enjoy is “Who Do You Think You Are”. The show is on TLC on Monday nights. They feature a celebrity and trace their ancestors. The celebrities who are featured have an interesting ancestor that makes for a good story. If they were to pick non-celebrities, the descendants of Ruth Andrews DeBoise would have many ancestors with fascinating stories to tell.

I am going to introduce you to Richard Warren who was one of the original passengers on the Mayflower; Samuel Lincoln who is also the immigrant ancestor of President Abraham Lincoln; and Reverend Peter Hobart who was the first minister in Hingham, Massachusetts. Each of these men and their families are well documented, and you can find out more about them with a “Google” search. To find out how they fit into the family, refer to the Pedigree Chart on the ancestors of Marshall Frederick Cortis.

Pedigree Chart for Marshall Frederick Cortis ♥

Richard Warren

Richard Warren is Ruth Andrews’ 8th great grandfather. His fame came from being one of the original passengers on the Mayflower. Richard was born about 1578 in England, and is thought to have been a merchant while in England. He married Elizabeth Walker, the daughter of Augustine Walker, around 1610.

He was one of the 102 passengers who departed Plymouth, England in September 1620 to journey to Virginia in the New World. He left his wife, Elizabeth, and his five daughters in England. The ship was blown off course and arrived in the Harbor of Cape Cod in November 1620.


Mayflower II

There is a replica of the Mayflower, which I have visited several times. The ship is relatively small. Imagine being packed with 102 passengers and 30 to 40 crew members, plus food and belongings, and spending 90 days at sea. Fall and early winter are not the easiest times to sail in the Atlantic, and this journey was rough.

Two persons died on the journey – a passenger and a crewman – but many were sick. Winter is about the worse time to arrive in New England. The passengers were not prepared for a harsh New England winter, and about one-half of those early arrivals died during that first winter. Richard survived.

Richard was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact, which was signed on November 11, 1620. This was the first governing document of Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

In 1623, Richard’s wife and five daughters arrived from England on the ship Anne. He and his wife then had two sons to join his daughters. Richard died in 1628. His wife lived into her 90s. All the children married and had children. Some of the notable descendants of Richard Warren and his wife are Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, and Orson Welles. Ruth Andrews is a descendent of his daughter Mary.

If you haven’t already done so, go to Plymouth, Massachusetts and visit the Plimouth Plantations. The Mayflower II, a replica of the Mayflower, is currently being restored at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. It is expected to be completed sometime in 2019, and before the 400th anniversary of the 1620 arrival of the Mayflower. Once restored, it will be docked again in Plymouth. These are great living history museums which will give you some insight into what the voyage and early life in the New World might have been like.

Plimouth Plantations 2003

Plimouth Plantations

Some sources for more information on the Richard Warren family include:

Caleb Johnson’s Mayflower History.com http://mayflowerhistory.com/warren/

Richard Warren Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Warren

Samuel Lincoln

Samuel Lincoln is another one of Ruth Andrews’ 8th great grandfathers, and is Abraham Lincoln’s 4th great grandfather. Samuel was born about 1622 in England. He sailed on the ship John and Dorothy in 1637 to New England. The ship’s passenger list has him listed as Samuell Lincoln, servant, age 18, destination to New England to inhabit. He was traveling with Francis Lawes and his family. Mr. Lawes was a weaver from Norwich, England who settled in Salem, Massachusetts. Samuel was thought to be apprenticed to him to learn the trade of weaver. He was probably younger than 18 when he sailed.

Samuel first settled in Salem, and then moved  to Hingham, Massachusetts where his older brother Thomas was living. Samuel married Martha Lyford in 1649. Together they had eleven children. Samuel helped to build the Old Ship Church in Hingham, and attended services conducted by Reverend Peter Hobart. Samuel died on May 26, 1690. His wife, Martha, died three years later in 1693.

Abraham Lincoln is descended from Samuel’s fourth son, Mordecai. Ruth Andrews is descended from his daughter Mary.

Reverend Peter Hobart

Reverend Hobart is another of Ruth Andrews’ 8th great grandfathers. He is known for establishing the Congregational Church in Hingham, Massachusetts, and serving as its first minister until his death on January 20, 1679.

Peter was the son of Edmund and Mary (Dewey) Hobart, and was born October 13, 1604 in Hingham, England. He attended Magdalen College, Cambridge, England where he received both Bachelor and Master degrees, finishing his studies in 1628. He then entered the ministry. Peter spent most of his adult life in the ministry, both in England and then in Hingham.

Peter married Elizabeth IBrook, and in 1635 left England with his wife and four children to join his father in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He arrived June 8, 1835, and by September 1835 he was living in Hingham. He was Hingham’s minister from 1635 until his death in 1679.

His wife, Elizabeth, died in 1645. In 1646 he married (2) Rebecca Peck. Rebecca is the 8th great grandmother of Ruth Andrews. Ruth is a descendent of their son, David Hobart. At the time of Peter’s death, fifteen living children were mentioned in his will. There must be many descendants from the Reverend!

Before Peter died, his congregation was planning to replace the current church. The Old Ship Church was built in 1681, and is the only surviving Puritan 17th century meeting house, and oldest continuously operating church in North America. The inside of the church looks like the beams of an inverted ship, hence the name.

I must see this church and am going to take a trip to Hingham on a nice warm spring day. Google pictures of Old Ship Church to see how fantastic this church looks.


Old Ship Church

Reverend Hobart started a journal in 1635, recording important events in his life and that of the community, including births, deaths and marriages. The Reverend continued the diary until close to his death, and his son David continued recording events after his father’s death. Amazingly, this diary has been scanned, and is available for viewing on Ancestry.com! It is used as documentation for many of Hingham’s earliest town records.

I bet these three individuals had no idea they would play such a role in the development of our country, and that their descendants would have such an impact.

Best wishes for the holidays and the New Year!

Until next time,

The Direct Ancestors of Marshall Frederick Cortis

The direct ancestors of Marshall Cortis are well documented, and there are many because of the hundreds of years they have lived in New England. With the exception of more recent (1800s) immigrants from Canada, Ireland, and France, most of the rest of the family emigrated from England in the 1600s.

Attached is a link to the Pedigree Chart for Marshall, which lists all of his direct ancestors that have been identified.  The chart is 16 pages.

Pedigree Chart for Marshall Frederick Cortis ♥

It is very easy to get lost trying to figure out how families are related because of the large number of well documented family lines. Please refer to the chart to follow the stories, and if you are a descendant of Marshall, keep a copy of this list. These are your ancestors.

Surnames of the ancestors of Marshall Cortis are listed below. As I mentioned in the last post, this family has a long history in Hingham, Massachusetts. If the name has an * at the end, the surname was found in lists of the earliest settlers of Hingham, and were living in Hingham before 1700.

  • Bartlett
  • Bate*
  • Beal/Beal*
  • Cushing*
  • Cleverly
  • Cullen
  • Deveau
  • Eames*
  • Farrow*
  • Fearing/Fering*
  • Gallop
  • Garnett/Garnet*
  • Clark
  • Hilliard*
  • Hobart*
  • Holland
  • Joy*
  • Lewis*
  • Lincoln*
  • Low/Lowe*
  • Mulhanney
  • Manuel
  • Marsh*
  • Peck*
  • Pierce
  • Remington*
  • Ripley*
  • Sprague*
  • Stowell*
  • Warren*
  • Wilder*
  • Worrick

Source of * surnames: Early Hingham, Plymouth Co., MA Records Extracted from New England Historical & Genealogical Register. Transcribed by Jane Devlin. Accessed at http://www.dunhamwilcox.net.

First Settlers of Hingham. Communicated by Andrew H. Ward, Esq., Extracted from New England Historical & Genealogical Register Vol. 2, p 250 to 252 July 1848. Transcribed by Jane Devlin. Accessed at http://www.dunhamwilcox.net.

In future posts, I will identify some of the interesting stories among the ancestors. I am not going to attempt to discuss each family on the pedigree list – I would never complete the stories and my own family line has been haunting me to tell their stories!


Hope everyone has great holidays with family and friends. This is the perfect time to work on your family history. Ask the elders questions about their family, how they celebrated Christmas and other holidays, and what it was like growing up. Record or write the information down. Our phones have great capability to record conversations and you can transcribe them later. In addition, you have the voice of your parent/grandparent/elder. Twenty years from now your grandchild might want to know more about your parents or grandparents. Wouldn’t it be great to not only tell them the stories, but let them hear the stories as they are being told to you! Don’t wait to ask the questions. We aren’t here forever. I have had many missed opportunities to learn more about my family, and then find out it’s too late.

Merry Christmas!
Until next time…..

The Bela Remington Family of Hingham, Massachusetts

I have taken a long break from telling stories of the Remington’s and the families associated with them. I started writing about Bela Remington many times. But I would get distracted, and do a little more research. The Remington family tree branches stretch into the earliest of New England’s settlers. That means there are many generations and over 300 years of history just in New England! That’s a lot of history!!

The search has been interesting. I found family who served in the Revolutionary War. Another direct ancestor was one of the earliest ministers in Hingham, and many ancestors played prominent roles in the establishment of Hingham. I also learned that the descendants of Marshall Cortis are related to Abraham LincolnAbe Lincoln is a cousin although many times removed! That is pretty cool. And we can’t forget our Mayflower Ancestor Richard Warren. I have only scratched the surface in looking at this family. I will share some of the stories I have found and encourage you to do your own searches to see what else you can find.

Hingham Marker
I have lived in New England for over 40 years, and have never been to Hingham. I’ve heard of it, but really didn’t know anything about the town. Hingham, Massachusetts is located on Boston Harbor on the South Shore of the Greater Boston Metropolitan area. It was first settled by English colonists from Hingham, England in 1633. Most of the early settlers were Puritans, leaving England because of religious dissent with the Anglican Church. The ancestors of Ruth Martha Andrews DeBoise and her father, Marshall Cortis, were among those early settlers.

Thomas Remington was the first Remington I found in Hingham. He was listed in marriage records for March 1688 when he married Remember Stowell.  Remember’s family was in Hingham in the early 1630s. Thomas was probably not the immigrant ancestor, but I have not been able to verify his parents. He is often confused with another Thomas Remington who was also born in Massachusetts about the same time as our ancestor. The other Thomas moved with his father to Suffield, Connecticut where he died. Our Thomas was still fathering children after the Suffield “Thomas” was deceased! Six generations later, the grandfather of Marshall Cortis was born – Bela Remington II.


Bela Jr. (II) was born in May 1824 in Hingham, the son of Bela Remington Sr. (I) and Esther Manuel. It was not quite 50 years since the United States declared its independence from England and fought the Revolutionary War. There was a contentious presidential election in 1824. Andrew Jackson had the largest number of electoral and popular votes among the four candidates running for office, but he did not have a majority of electoral votes. The House of Representatives was left to decide who the next President was going to be. Politics have never been nice. Favors were called in by Henry Clay, a leader in the House, and John Quincy Adams was selected as the sixth President of this new Republic.

Bela Sr. was the son of Elisha Remington, Jr. and Margaret Stowell. Bela Jr.’s mother, Esther, was the daughter of John Manuel, who had emigrated from France, and Esther Lewis, whose ancestors are among the earliest settlers of Hingham. Esther Lewis traces her direct ancestors back to Samuel Lincoln, who is also a direct ancestor of Abraham Lincoln.

Bela Jr. was the oldest of five children of Bela Sr. and Esther. His mother died in 1839 when he was 15 years old, and his father died two years later. Bela Sr. left land and an estate, which was sold off a little at a time over the next few years to help care for the  children. The youngest child was 5 years old at his father’s death. Esther’s brothers, John and Robert Manuel, became guardians of the youngest children.

Bela Jr. married (1) Bridget Crehan on October 24, 1848 in Boston. Bela was 24 years old and Bridget was 22. Bridget was born in 1826 in Ireland, and was 20 years old when she arrived by the ship Agnes Gilmore, which sailed from Liverpool, England to New York City. Following arrival in New York, she went north to Boston, where many other Irish immigrants were settling.

About the time that Bela married, he took custody of his brother Charles, who was then 13 years old.  Bela worked as a milk carrier and farmer. In 1860 he and his family were living on the George Glover, a local merchant, property, where he worked as a laborer.
Bela and Bridget had five children, all born in Hingham. Bridget was 35 years old when she died on May 31, 1861 from peritonitis caused by childbirth. This is an infection of the abdominal cavity and the most common cause for women dying from childbirth until the 1900s, when the infection could be treated with antibiotics.

The children of Bela and Bridget were:

1. Bela Crane was born October 6, 1851. He married Maria Elizabeth Stoddard on September 20, 1876. They were living in Weymouth by 1880, and in Holbrook by 1900. Bela C. was 79 years old when he died in 1929. His wife died the same year. They had at least two children, Edith and Lizzie Florence.

2. Mary A. was born November 29, 1852. By 1880 she was a servant in the Quincy home of Isaiah Whidon and his wife. Mary was 34 years old when she married George A. Oberlander and they took up residence in Everett. George died eight years later, leaving her a widow with a young daughter. She and her daughter lived with her step-son, Andrew Oberlander, until her daughter was old enough to marry. Then Mary lived in her daughter’s household. Mary died in 1919. She was 67 years old.

3. Lucy Frances was born in December 1854. In 1880, when she was 26 years old, she was the live-in servant of Joseph Newhall and his wife.  Lucy was 32 years old, living in Boston and working as a domestic, when she married Armeal H. Robinson, a waiter, on April 20, 1887. Armeal was black. Interracial marriages were not common in 1887. By 1900, her father, Bela Jr., was living with her and her husband. Bela was working as a laborer and her husband as a painter. She did not have any children. Lucy died October 7, 1906 from cerebral hemorrhage and tuberculosis. She was 51 years old. Her husband died the following year from insula sclerosis, more commonly known as multiple sclerosis, with arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, a contributing factor.

4. Martha Shepherd was born September 10, 1857. She was living in Boston by 1880, where, like her sisters, she was a servant in a private residence. She married Michael Strobel sometime between 1887 and 1892, although a record of the marriage was not found. Michael’s first wife died in 1886. Martha had two children, the first infant dying within a few months from malnutrition. Her husband was a German immigrant and worked as a sausage maker. He was murdered in 1894, leaving Martha with a six week old infant girl to care for. Martha worked as a laundress for private families to support herself and her daughter. She was 62 years old when she died October 7, 1919 in Boston.

5. Infant born in 1861. Although I could not find birth or death records for an infant born in 1861, since Bridget died from periodontitis as a result of childbirth, there had to be a child born. The child probably was stillborn or died shortly after birth.

After the death of Bridget, Bela was responsible for the care and support of four children ranging in age from four to ten years. Although grieving the loss of his first wife, Bela needed to marry again for help with his children, in addition to the companionship of a wife. On October 9, 1862 Bela married (2) Margaret Cullen in Boston. The daughter of John Cullen and Margaret Mulhanney, both of Ireland, Margaret was born March 3, 1831 in Ireland. She left the poverty of her native land and traveled on the ship Robert, which departed from Liverpool, England and arrived in Boston November 19, 1849. She traveled with Edward Cullen. Edward was probably her brother. He was listed as 18 years old on the ship roster, and Margaret was listed as 16.

Margaret was 31 years old when she married Bela, somewhat late for a first marriage. However, she likely had the maturity to become the step mother to Bela’s children. Bela and Margaret soon started their own family. Children of Bela and Margaret, all born in Hingham, were:

1. Agnes Ester was born July 22, 1863. Agnes married James Edward Conrad on September 8, 1896. Soon after the family moved to Quincy. Agnes and James had at least one child. She was 58 years old when she died in 1921.

2. John Theodore was born October 21, 1865. He was 31 when he married Flora H. Noiles on March 21, 1897. Following his marriage he moved to Cambridge then  to Boston. He worked as a waiter and night watchman. John was 64 when he died in 1929. He and Flora had at least two children.

3. Bernard Collan (Cullen) was born September 5, 1867 and was 52 when he died on February 19, 1920. A previous blog was about Bernard.

4. Winifred Cullen was born October 27, 1869. She was 36 when she married Paul D’Angelo on June 3, 1906 in Boston. Winifred and Paul moved to Everett, and had at least two children. She was 74 and a widow when she died in 1943.

5. Margaret M. was born May 5, 1873. She was 24 when she married Robert Elmer Gibson on October 31, 1897 in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Margaret and Robert first settled in Melrose, and moved to Woburn by 1920. They had at least six children. Margaret died in 1926.

Margaret (Cullen) Remington died July 12, 1889 of uterine cancer. She was 58 years old, and her husband, Bela, buried another wife. Bela moved from Hingham and lived with several of his children and their families. In 1900, he was living with his daughter Lucy, and her husband Arm Robinson. Following Lucy’s death in 1906, he moved to Melrose and was living with his youngest daughter Margaret and her husband Robert Gibson. He was living in Quincy with his daughter Agnes and her husband James Conrad when he died on December 15, 1912 from arteriosclerosis. He was 88 years old, and outlived two wives and two children. He is buried in Fort Hill Cemetery in Hingham.

In the next post I will share ancestor charts for the direct ancestors of Marshall Frederick Cortis, and share information on Bela Remington, Senior and his wife, Esther Manuel.

Thank you for the feedback I have received on these blogs. It is nice to hear that they are being read.

Enjoy the holidays. Hope everyone is able to spend some time with family and friends. What kind of traditions does your family have? How many were passed down from your parents and grandparents?
Until next time,

Least We Forget – The Witch Hysteria of the 1600s and its Destruction of Families

This post has nothing to do with the DeBoise family and its ancestors, other than my connection to the family through marriage. This is about my family.

In the 1970s, my husband and I took my father-in-law, James DeBoise, to Salem. We did the normal tourist stuff – the Witch Museum and the House of Seven Gables. I also walked around cemeteries looking for tombstones of my ancestors. I knew I had family living in the area in the 1600s. I also expected that they had to be affected by the hysteria around witches, but I had no idea how.

I do believe that when people are ready to be found, they will be. A few years ago I found that information, and was amazed, and saddened. This is one of the stories of my family.

Salem Village Witch Memorial
Salem Village With Memorial legendsofamerica.com

The ancestors of both my mother and father were very involved in the events of the 1600s. Some were accused of being witches, jailed, and participated in hearings before judges and juries similar to what was depicted in the play and movie The Crucible (Arthur Miller wrote the play in 1953. It is based on the Salem Witch Trials, but there was some liberties taken with the story.).

The Salem Witch Trials occurred in the towns and counties surrounding Salem, Massachusetts during 1692 and 1693. By September, 1693 when the last of those accused were released from jail, almost 200 people had been jailed, 24 had died, and 55 were coerced into confessing to practicing witchcraft.

The Accused

Jane Lilly is my 9th paternal great grandmother.  Jane is the second wife of George Lilly. George was born in England and living in Reading, Essex County, Massachusetts by 1659.  Jane was born in either Massachusetts or England. George married Jane (her maiden name is not known) in 1667, and they had three children – George Joseph, Reuben, and Abigail. Jane was 46 years old when she became a widow at George’s death in 1691. She was still living in Reading in 1692.

Jane was accused of witchcraft, along with Mary Colson, and examined by his majesty’s justices in Salem on September 2, 1692. Her accusers included Mary Warren, Elizabeth Booth, Susanna Post, and Mrs. Mary Marshall (wife of Edward, of Malden). She was accused of afflicting them and causing them to fall in a fit as she looked at them, and causing the fit to end with a touch of her hand. She was also accused of setting William Hooper’s house on fire and killing him. Jane denied all of this, saying if she confessed any of what she was being accused of she would be denying the truth and wrong her own soul. Jane was imprisoned in the Salem jail (Witches of Massachusetts http://www.legendsofamerica.com/ma-witches-k-n.html).

On December 8, 1692, her sons George and Reuben Lilly, who were husbandmen (farmers) in Lynn, along with John Pierson, pledged 200 pounds of their property and goods for her release, guaranteeing her appearance at the next Middlesex Court hearing for trial. On the same day George also pledged, along with John Pierson, 200 pounds to free John’s sister, Bethia Pierson Carter, who was also accused of witchcraft and was imprisoned (Salem Witch Trails: Documentary Archive and Transcription Project. http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/texts/tei/swp?term=John%20Somes&div_id=n28.1&chapter_id=n28). On January 31, 1693 the Grand Jury in Middlesex County returned an indictment for Jane of ignoramus, meaning there was not enough evidence to indict her of witchcraft.

Jane’s children, Reuben and Abigail, both died in 1698. Her son, George, went in front of the Reading selectmen in June 1701 and refused payment for the keeping of his mother. I am not sure if this had something to do with restitution from her jailing, or if it was for caring for her when she was destitute. Although I do not know when Jane died, it was probably in the early 1700s. By 1707, George (my 8th great grandfather) was a resident of Scotland, Windham County, Connecticut where he was one of the early founders of the community and became a prominent landowner of the area.

Frances (unknown) Hutchins is my 10th maternal great grandmother.  Frances was born about 1612 in England. She married John Hutchins in 1637. He was a carpenter, a partner in a sawmill, and a farmer. (Frances is referred to in many records as Frances Alcock, who immigrated as a servant for the Richard Drummer family on the Bevis in 1635. However, there is no proof that Frances, wife of John Hutchins, is the same Frances Alcock.)

Frances was first arrested in 1653 for wearing finery – a silk hood. In 1650, the General Court had passed a law prohibiting the display of finery by persons “of meane (sic) condition” defined as persons whose property was valued at less than 200 pounds. For women, finery included silk or tiffany hoods, ribbons or scarfs. Frances was acquitted because “upon testimony of her being brought up above the ordinary way,” and was entitled to wear the finery, while her friend Mrs. Swett was found guilty and had to pay ten shillings . John Hutchins died in 1685, leaving Frances a widow when she was about 73 years old.

Widow Frances was 80 years old when she was arrested August 19, 1692 on the charge of witchcraft, and transported to and imprisoned in Salem. Her accusers include Timothy Swan of Andover as well as Ann Putnam, Jr. and Mary Walcott of Salem Village. On this day, five accused witches were hanged in Salem. Imagine her chained in the horse drawn cart as it drove by the gallows on her way to jail.

She was imprisoned until December 21, 1692 when she was released on 200 pounds bond posted by her son Samuel Hutchins and John Kingsbury. There are no records of a trial or indictment. Frances died on April 5, 1694.

The Towne sisters are well known in this drama, as all three were accused of witchcraft. A monument in Salem honors their sacrifice. Edmund Towne, the husband of Mary Browning, my 8th paternal great grand aunt, was their brother. Rebecca (Towne) Nurse and Mary (Towne) Easty, were convicted of being witches. Rebecca was hung June 19 and Mary was hung September 22, 1692.

salem-wax-museum-of-witches Mary,Sarah and Rebecca
The Towne Sisters – Mary, Sarah and Rebecca at Salem Wax Museum tripadvisor.com

Sarah (Towne) Cloyce was accused of bewitching Edmund and Mary’s daughter, Rebecca. Widow Mary Browning Towne, along with four of her children, was called as a witness against her sisters-in-law Mary and Sarah on September 6, 1692. She responded the following day asking to be excused from testifying in that she and her children were very weak and could not get out of bed. She was summoned again on September 8. There is no record that she testified against her sisters-in-law. There was no credible evidence for finding Sarah guilty of practicing witchcraft, and the Grand Jury dismissed charges against Sarah on January 3, 1693. However, she was not released from prison until her husband, Peter, paid her fees from the imprisonment (Records of the Peabody Institute Library, Danvers, Mass. as referenced by Phipps Family Pages and hosted on RootsWeb: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~walkersj/EdmundTowne.html). (Sarah Cloyce is the main character of the PBS movie “Three Sovereigns for Sarah”)


Before the Salem Witch Trials, my 9th maternal great grandmother, Joanna Lee Sleeper, wife of Thomas Sleeper and a resident of Hampton, New Hampshire, twice accused, in September and October 1656, Goodwife Eunice Cole of witchcraft. Joanna, along with Sobriety Martson, claimed that while talking about Goodwife Cole and Goodwife Marston’s child, there was a scraping against the boards and windows of the house, caused by Goodwife Cole. It was concluded if an animal had made the scraping, it would have left marks.

Goodwife Cole was  found guilty of witchcraft and sentenced to be whipped and to life in prison in Boston. She was released after 15 years and the town of Hampton was ordered to support her. Shortly after she was released, she was again accused of witchcraft and once again imprisoned.  After a few months she was found not guilty and sent back to Hampton, where she died in poverty (Nutfield Genealogy: http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2016/04/surname-saturday-sleeper-of-hampton-new.html).

It is October and children and adults are getting excited about celebrating Halloween. Salem celebrates this holiday throughout October, integrating the history of the witch trials in their celebration to promote tourism. However, this celebration seems to be less about the horrors of this time period and the effect it had on families, and more about dressing in costume and having fun. I’m all for having fun, but to me the hysteria about witchcraft is a sobering time that had a very real impact on my ancestors. In addition to the hysteria, so much of what went on during this period had overtones of “politics”, “getting even”, and singling out those who were different.

Imagine these accused women, most of whom are older women, wearing heavy iron hand cuffs and leg fetters, and chained in their jail cells. Frances Hutchins was 80 and Jane Lilly was 47 when they were jailed. They were kept in prisons that were damp and dark. They were tortured as their jailers sought to have them confess to witchcraft. Their jail cells were cold in the winter, hot in the summer, infested with lice and rats, and smelled. They slept on straw, if they had any bedding at all.

The Salem Dungeon and Jail was located near the North River, and was often subject to flooding. And to add insult to these indignities, families were charged for all costs of imprisonment. Even when the accused were found innocent, they were not released until their costs of imprisonment were paid (Procedures, Courts & Officials of the Salem Trials. http://www.legendsofamerica.com/ma-salemcourt2.html).

I will never know the full impact this period of history had on my family. But I can respect, and empathize with what our ancestors went through; and share their experiences with future generations so that they also know the part their family played in our nation’s history, as dark as this chapter is.

Enjoy October. I’m always amazed each year at the beautiful fall foliage. It’s like God dribbled bright colors of paint on the trees. My favorite time of the year.

Until next time….