The Children of James and Nancy Wallace of Monson

The last blog was on James and Nancy Wallace, the first African-American family with the name of Wallis/Wallace to settle in Monson, Massachusetts. James and Nancy moved from New York to Massachusetts around 1800.

In a previous post I wrote about their son Samuel and his wife, Emily Green, direct ancestors of Ruth Andrews DeBoise. I am going to finish with the remaining children of James and Nancy: DOLLY, HENRY, ROXANNA, and DICKERSON.

1. DOLLY was born about 1801 in Palmer, Massachusetts and is the oldest of the identified children of James and Nancy. On June 30, 1830 she was admitted as a member of the First Congregational Church of Monson. She was also listed as the head of household in the 1830 Federal Census in Monson, with one adult male and one male child under 10 years of age living in her home. By 1832, Dolly and her family were living in Palmer. On September 28, 1832 she married Joel Hazzard in Stafford, Connecticut. Joel was born about 1798 in Connecticut.

By 1839 she and her family had moved to Brookfield, Massachusetts. Dolly must have been a strong woman who handled her own money. She purchased three acres in Brookfield for $36 in 1844. Although she would not have been allowed to sell the property without her husband’s permission, the deed was in her name. In 1865, she needed the court’s permission to obtain a mortgage on her property without her husband’s consent. Joel deserted her in October 1861 and was supposedly living with another woman in New Haven, Connecticut in March 1862. Joel could not be found and Dolly was able to obtain the mortgage without his signature. She sold the property to her son Lorenzo in 1867.

Dolly was listed as a widow in the 1865 Massachusetts State Census, although I have not found a death record for Joel. She was 82 years old when she died on June 29, 1883 in Brookfield from apoplexy (stroke).

Dolly and Joel had at least five children. Three of her sons served in the Civil War. (1) James served in the Massachusetts 5th Colored Calvary as a Private. (2) George Alfred also was a Private in the Massachusetts 5th Colored Calvary. (3) Charles was 17 years old when he died from consumption in 1856. (4) Jane was last found in 1875 living at the State Farm in Cranston, Rhode Island. She was a domestic, and the State Farm was an almshouse for the poor. (5) Lorenzo was a Sargent in the Massachusetts 5th Colored Infantry.

Alfred Hazard Brookfield Cemetery
Alfred Hazzard Co. E Mass. Cav. Brookfield Cemetery

2. HENRY B was born between 1808 and 1812 in Monson. On January 16, 1842 he married Lucinda (Lucy) Johnson. Henry and Lucy had at least seven children: (1) Charles (2) George (3) Ann (4) Emmeretta (Emma) married George Hazzard, son of her aunt Dolly and Emma’s first cousin. (5) Henry Cady married Eveline Newport, then married Charlotte Oakley. Charlotte married George Hazzard following Henry’s death. George and Emma had separated by the time of this marriage. (6) John W was 20 years old when he died from consumption in 1865. (7) Elizabeth Sarah was nine years old when she died from consumption in 1864.

By 1860 Henry and Lucy were no longer living together. On October 24, 1874 Henry married Ellen H. Pennington Van Dusen. Henry worked as a laborer on local farms. On April 3, 1881 Henry was burnt to death. He was 69 years old.

3. ROXANNA (sometimes listed as Rosanna) was born about 1813. She was the mother of one child, Charles Henry Wallace. She was about 15 years old when he was born. Roxanna was also a member of the First Congregational Church of Monson. She was 22 years old when she died on September 18, 1835 in Palmer.

4. DICKERSON (Dick) was born about 1814. On March 22, 1845 he married Elvira Jenkins. In 1850 he was living with his mother, Nancy, and stepfather Henry Miller in Monson and worked as a farm laborer. His family was not living with him. Dick died May 25, 1861 in Monson from dropsy (edema). He was about 45 years old. Dick and Elvira had one daughter, Martha. Martha married William L. Mason of Springfield, and was 37 years old when she died from phthisis (tuberculosis).

As I researched the descendants of the children of James and Nancy, I found that many of the families of color living in Palmer and Monson at the time James and Ruth raised their family were related to the original Wallace family.

I have written the stories of the African-American ancestors of James and Ruth (Andrews) DeBoise – at least what I have found in my research. There is much more to be told, and I hope that some of their descendants will continue to add to their stories.

I will be moving on to Ruth Andrews’ father, and his ancestors. His family stretches back to the earliest settlers in New England, including a direct ancestor who was on the Mayflower. He also has family from Nova Scotia.

The next blog will be about using DNA for genealogy research, and how DNA helped to identify the father of Ruth Andrews.

Soon we will be celebrating the 4th of July – Independence Day. I wonder how our ancestors celebrated the 4th. James and Ruth DeBoise took their family annually to Forest Lake to celebrate the 4th. This annual outing was something the children really enjoyed.

Forest Lake Methuen Mass
Forest Lake in Methuen, Mass.

Enjoy Independence Day – celebrate with family, have a cookout, and just have lots of fun!

Until next time…..


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