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,

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