The Last Will and Testament of Samuel Wallace

Will Samuel Wallace

Before I move on to Samuel’s parents, James and Nancy, I want to share Samuel’s will. Not often am I fortunate enough to find a will from one of the early ancestors. When Samuel was mentioned as having a will in the book “Black Families in Hampden County, Massachusetts, 1650-1855” by Joseph Carvalho, I had to try to get a copy. I wrote to the Probate Court in Springfield, and they not only sent me a copy of the will, but also everything that they had in his file for settling his estate. I was thrilled! Not only did this information tell me which of his children were alive at the time of his death, but it also gave me more information on his property – real and personal. I will do my best in transcribing the documents for you.

Be it remembered that I, Samuel Wallace of Monson County of Hampden in the State of Massachusetts being of sound mind and memory, but knowing the uncertainty of this life, do make this my last will and testament.
After the payment of my just debts and funeral charges, I bequeath and devise as follows:
I give bequeath and devise to my beloved wife Emily Wallace all of my estate both real and personal of which I may die seized to her sole use forever.
I appoint my wife Emily Wallace to be executrix of the my last will and testament and request the Judge of Probate to require of her no surety or sureties on her official Bond.
In testimony whereof, I hereunto set my hand, and in the presence of three witnesses declare this to be my last Will, this Twelfth day of March in the year one thousand eight hundred and Eighty-Eight.
                                                       Samuel X Wallace
On this Twelfth day of March A.D. 1888 Samuel Wallace of Monson Mass has made his mark signed the foregoing instrument in our presence, declaring it to be his last Will, and as witnesses thereof we three do now, at his request, in his presence, and in the presence of each other, hereto subscribe our names.
                                                             Geo Hunter
                                                            Geo E. Fuller
                                                         Tha L Cushman

George Fuller was a physician, Thaddeus L Cushman was President of the Bank, and they both lived in Monson. I found a George Hunter from Holyoke who worked in a silk mill. This might have been the third witness.

Samuel died March 14, 1888, two days after completing his will. He knew he was dying and, because he had property, wanted to make sure that his wife would inherit his estate.

On February 8, 1889 Edwin R. King petitioned the court to be named administrator of the will, in that Emily Wallace had died after her husband, and before this date. Although I was never able to find the date of death of Emily, I know that it occurred between March 1888 and February 1889. Edwin R. King is the husband of Nancy Wallace.

To the Honorable the Judge of the Probate Court in and for the County of Hampden:

Respectfully represents Edwin R. King of Palmer in the County of Hampden that Samuel Wallace who last dwelt in Monson in said County of Hampden, died on the Fourteenth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Eighty-Eight possessed of goods and estates remaining to be administered, leaving a widow. Whose name was Emily Wallace (since deceased) and as his only heirs-at-law and next of kin, the persons whose names, residence, and relationship to the deceased are as follows:

Sarah Law, wife of George P. Law – of New Bedford, Mass, daughter.
James Wallace of Monson, Mass – son.
Alanson Wallace of New Bedford, Mass – son.
Betsey Wallace Thompson of Palmer, Mass – daughter.
Rosanna Kelsey of Palmer, Mass. – wife of Sidney Kelsey, Palmer, daughter.
Emily Mason of Palmer, Mass wife of Wm Mason – daughter.
Nancy King wife of E.R. King of Palmer, Mass – daughter.
Mary Wallace of Monson, Mass – daughter.
Julia Wallace of Monson, Mass – daughter.

That said deceased left a WILL herewith presented, wherein his widow was named executrix but she having since died the heirs at law request your petition to act.

Wherefore your petitioner prays that said will may be proved and allowed, and letters of administration with the will annexed issued to him.

Dated the Eight day of February A.D. 1889.
Edwin R. King

The undersigned being all the heirs-at-law and next of kin, and the only parties interested in the foregoing petition, request that the prayer thereof be granted, without further notice.”

The Court responded by setting a date Edwin King was to appear in court – March 1, 1889 – and he was to give public notice by publishing in the Palmer Journal once a week for three weeks his request to be named executor of the estate to ensure that no one else wanted this job.
On the Sixth of March, 1889 Edwin R. King was appointed executor of the estate.

Edwin presented to the court, on this same date, the debts of the estate.

Dr. W. H. Stowe Medical attendance 23.00
Dr. Wilkins 8.50
John Monyhair 2 caskets etc. 89.00
Taxes due town of Monson 6.40
Teams to Funeral J.T. Stevens 3.75
Teams to Funeral L. G. Cushman 2.50
Geo H. Newton’s account 3.00
Frank Warren – mortgage 32.80
W. N. Flynt Co. – Robes etc. 3.10
George E. Fuller medical attendance 47.00
Total debts – $229.05

On March 7, 1889, the value of the amount of Real Estate was appraised at $400 for the home place of about 15 acres with buildings. The amount of Personal Estate was appraised at $5.00 for household effects and stone tools.

Samuel must have been a stone mason since he had stone tools, and probably taught his two sons, James and Alanson, the trade since they also became stone masons.

To be appointed as executor of the estate, Edwin had to put up eight hundred dollars in bond. He got the help of his father, Sylvannus King of Monson, and his brother, Albert King of Palmer, in pledging the money for the bond. The order of appointment was signed March 8, 1889. No wonder none of the other family members wanted this job!

On March 17, 1889, Edwin presented an accounting of the estate. Debts totaled $229.05. A charge for administration was $45.00, increasing debts to $274.05. Personal estate amounted to $5, which did not cover the debts. Real estate was appraised at $400, and must be sold to satisfy the debts.

“Home place of the late Samuel Wallace situated northerly of the farm of Rev. James Tufts containing Fifteen acres more or less together with the buildings thereon.”

Edwin was licensed to sell the real estate in order to pay the debts and settle the estate.

You would think that the land would be sold, the debts paid off, the remainder split among the heirs, and that would be the end of it. Well, think again!

I found two small pieces of property auctioned off in 1891 because of nonpayment of 1890 taxes by the heirs of Samuel Wallace. Thirty-nine and one-half cents was owed on 1¼ acres near the Rock House. This was purchased by Truman Watross at public auction for nine dollars.

On another one acre lot of land near Rock House, fifteen and one-half cents was owed for taxes. This land was purchased by David J. Anderson of Monson at public auction for twenty dollars.

Some of Samuel and Emily’s ancestors might be ambitious enough to figure out how to use new technology to discover exactly where their land was located. I found land records for Massachusetts on You can also visit for Massachusetts Land Records. I have not used this site before, so it might be fun to see what you can find on the Wallace family, other relatives, or other property you are interested in.

Until the next time….

The Children of Samuel and Emily Wallace, continued

Wallace_Hillside Cemetery_Monson
Hillside Cemetery, Monson, Massachusetts

In the last post, I shared information on Samuel and Emily (Green)Wallace, and four of their fifteen children: Samuel Jr., Baby Boy, Sarah, and James. I will continue with their children. All of the children were born in Monson.

5. ALANSON was born about 1842. He was living with his parents when he followed his brother James and enlisted as a Private in Company A, Massachusetts 54th Regiment during the Civil War. He was mustered in at Camp Meigs, Massachusetts on March 30, 1863 at the same time as his brother James. Alanson was wounded at the assault on Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863. A ball passed through the flesh under his right arm and across his stomach. In spite of the injury, he was present for all muster rolls until his discharge on August 20, 1865.
Following his discharge he returned to Monson.

On November 30, 1871 he married Alice Cutter in Monson. I do not know if they had any children, but the marriage did not last long. By 1879 Alanson had moved to New Bedford and was living with his sister Sarah and her husband George Law. Alice died August 27, 1892 in Springfield.

Alanson married (2) Laura Stevens on July 21, 1896 in New Bedford. They had two daughters, Emily born in 1893, and Mary born in 1896. Alanson died October 16, 1896 in New Bedford of heart disease, almost three months after his marriage to Laura. He was 54 years old. Laura died August 11, 1897 of typhoid fever. She was 36 years old and left two orphan daughters.

Alanson applied for an invalid pension three times between 1891 and 1894 – all times denied. He claimed disability due to a wound received during the War. He also received a cut on the underside of the left ankle which he incurred while mowing with a scythe following the War. He claimed to have chronic diarrhea which was contracted at Morris Island, South Carolina in the summer of 1863. A later application also indicated he had heart disease and rheumatism. Medical examinations found him to be emaciated and poorly nourished. He also walked with a limp. Significant disability was not found and he was not awarded a pension.

Alanson’s occupation was a mason’s helper and a laborer.

6. BETSEY E. was born in June 1844. In 1870, Betsey was keeping house for Wayne Coles and his young son in Monson. In 1880 she was a servant in the home of the Sanford family in Palmer. On February 14, 1885 she married Enos Thompson in Amherst, Massachusetts. Enos died in 1889, leaving Betsey a widow at 45. By 1889 she was living in Springfield where she lived for the rest of her life. She worked both as a domestic servant and as a laundress. The 1900 census indicated that she had one child who was still living, but no other records were found of any children. Betsey was 78 years old when she died in 1922.

7. ROSANNA was born in May 1846. As early as fourteen years of age she was working as a domestic servant, while still attending school. In October 1863 she had a baby, who died four months later. The name of the father was not identified on the birth record. As early as 1866 she had established a relationship with Sidney Kelson and began having children with him. Sidney was a Civil War Veteran. He was born in 1828 and was 18 years older than Rosanna. According to Rosanna’s widow application for a pension based on his military service, they had nine children together. However, by 1900 only three of those children were living. Rosanna and Sidney married April 15, 1889. They married because Palmer authorities gave them the ultimatum to marry or move out of town. Sidney had been married to another woman. The other woman did remarry and died shortly before his marriage to Rosanna. Rosanna moved to Springfield shortly before Sidney’s death in 1901, and Sidney moved to the “almshouse” for care.

Sidney Kelson Co.1_29thConnInf
Oak Knoll Cemetery, Palmer, Mass.

Comments on her application for a widow’s pension by those who reviewed her case stated that Sidney had stomach cancer and other ailments, and when he could no longer work Rosanna “practically” deserted him and moved to Springfield. He did not want to go with her, but did go to her house one day before his death. Her application for a widow’s pension was denied, largely because the investigators did not feel she was of good “moral” character. She was seeing other men before and after her husband’s death. While in Springfield, she worked as a laundress. Rosanna was 61 years old when she died on December 19, 1907 in Springfield from apoplexy (stroke).

8. EMILY M. was born in about 1849. On June 6, 1868, when she was 19 years old, she married William Mason. William was born in Maryland and was also 19 at the time of his marriage. Emily kept house for her family, while her husband farmed his own farm, and his sons, as they got older, worked on farms in the town. The Masons lived in Palmer. Emily died sometime between 1889 and 1891. Her husband remarried and moved to Worcester in 1891. The Mason’s had at least nine children, seven who were living at the time of Emily’s death. They were: William Jr., Samuel, Harry, Robert, Charles who died at three months from diphtheria, Harriet Elizabeth, Katherine Louisa who was adopted by her aunt and uncle, Sarah Wallace and George Pascal, Betsey, and Moses Aaron who was 20 months old when he died in 1889 from consumption.

9. INFANT BOY was born on July 20, 1849 and died before the 1850 Federal Census was taken.

10. NANCY M was born on August 31, 1851. In 1870, when she was 19 years old, she was working as a domestic servant. She had a son, Albert Wallis Smith, son of John Smith, who was born that year. Nancy and John were not married. Albert was 7 years old when he died in 1877 from diphtheria.

On November 24, 1880, Nancy married Edwin Russell King. Nancy was 29 and Edwin was 37. Edwin was from Monson and was a farmer and stonemason. He was also white. Edwin and Nancy had two children, Albert and Frank Edward; however both died very young and before 1900. Sadly, none of her children lived to adulthood. Nancy was 51 when she died on September 5, 1902 in Palmer from acute endocarditis (inflammation of the heart values). By 1910 Edwin was living in the Alms House in Palmer, and he died the following year.

11. FRANKLIN was born in November 1852. When he was 18 he was working in a grist mill. He died on May 13, 1873 from consumption (tuberculosis). He was 19 years old. He did not marry.

12. N was a baby girl born on October 23, 1853 and she died before 1855. Nothing else is known about her, and her name, found in birth records, was only referred to by an initial.

13. BABY BOY was born early in 1854 or 1855 and died on July 13, 1855 from cholera. A birth record was not found.

14. MARY MARILLA was born on August 24, 1855. In 1877, when she was 22, she had a daughter, Elizabeth. Her father is unknown. Elizabeth died the following year from diphtheria. In 1880 she was a live-in servant in the Samuel Cushman house. By 1892 she was living in Palmer. In 1900 she rented her home, and had three male boarders. One of those boarders was Adin Ryder, who was married at the time. She would later marry him.

Mary worked as a housekeeper. In 1903, her daughter Beatrice Madeline Wallace was born. Adin was her father. Beatrice married Ralph Johnson. Her son, Kenny Johnson, married Barbara Rose DeBoise, daughter of James and Ruth.

By 1910, Adin was no longer living in her home. The Federal Census said Mary had three children, but only one was living. By 1920, Adin is again living with her. By 1930, Adin and Mary have married. She stated in the Census that she was 57 at her first marriage. Mary died April 25, 1936, and is buried in Hillside Cemetery in Monson.

15. JULIA ANN was born on June 14, 1859. She lived her early years in Monson, but had moved to Palmer by 1886. She moved to Palmer about the same time her brother James moved. They both lived on Dublin Street during the same time period. Julia worked as a housekeeper and laundress. She never married. However, she had four children. The fathers of the children are not known. The children were: Otis, Horatio, Agnes and Mary. Julia was 53 years old when she died on July 12, 1912 from chronic nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys). She is buried in Hillside Cemetery in Monson.

With such a large family, Samuel and Emily have many, many descendants.

The next post will be on Samuel’s parents, James and Nancy Wallace, and his brothers and sisters that I have identified. James and Nancy were the first of the Wallace family to live in Monson.

Sunday is Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all who are mothers, step mothers, and foster mothers.

Enjoy the beautiful weather that we are having. Memorial Day is in a few weeks. Don’t forget to visit the grave sites of your loved ones, and those who may have been forgotten. Let’s remember what they gave us that helps to make us who we are.

Until next time, as we continue to climb this branch of the tree…….

Samuel and Emily (Green) Wallace of Monson, Massachusetts, Part 1

SAMUEL WALLACE was born about 1811 in Monson, the son of James and Nancy Wallace. Samuel was the second generation of Wallace’s living in Monson. There were 31 black individuals in Monson when Samuel was born, a small number for this rural community. Samuel had at least two sisters and two brothers, and he was the second oldest.

When Samuel was born, James Madison was President, and was elected to his second term in 1812. Our relationship with Great Britain was strained as Britain had seized over 4,000 American sailors, and trade between the two countries came to a halt. By 1812, we were once again fighting Great Britain. The War lasted for two years, and the United States was clearly established as an independent country upon its conclusion.

Indian chiefs Tecumseh and his brother, The Prophet, were trying to unite various tribes of Indians to fight the whites and maintain their lands. They were defeated at the Battle of Tippecanoe (Lafayette, Indiana) by William Henry Harrison, then the Governor of Indiana and a future President.

Samuel married EMILY A. GREEN on March 7, 1838 in Monson. She was born about 1811 in Ashford, Connecticut. Although no record of her birth was found, Ashford was referred to as her place of birth on multiple records related to her children as they stated the place of birth of their mother. I could not find information on her parents, but there was one black household by the name of “Green” in Ashford – Major Green. I have not been able to determine their relationship.

Samuel was a lifelong resident of Monson, and was listed in the all the federal and state censuses from 1840 until his death. His occupation was listed as a laborer or farmer, and records list him as black. He and his wife purchased and sold property in Monson. He first purchased land in September 1832, and he and his wife continued to purchase small plots of land, or sell land, or use land as collateral for loans for themselves. In March 1887 Samuel and Emily sold 7 ¾ acres to the town of Monson for $150 reserving the right to live in the premises as long as they were living. They still owned land at the time of their death.

Samuel died on March 14, 1888 from paralysis. He was 77 years of age. He is buried in Hillside Cemetery in Monson in an unmarked grave.

Samuel’s will was prepared and signed two days before his death. Samuel left all his property and estate to his wife Emily, who was to be sole executor. However, Emily died shortly after Samuel. Edwin R. King, Samuel’s son-in-law, was appointed administrator February 8, 1889. Assessment of the property was valued at $400 real estate – 15 acres plus building, and $5 personal effects. Debts amounted to $229.05 – mostly medical and funeral expenses. The property was sold to satisfy debts and the balance was divided among living children.

Emily was able to purchase real estate in her own name in 1848 and 1867, somewhat unusual for a married woman. The land purchases were small plots adjoining their current home. The pension records for her son James stated that she worked for the parents of George H. Norcross for years. George H. Norcross’s father was said to be a prominent man and manufacturer in Monson. Census records indicated that she worked as a “washerwoman” or laundress. She owned a plot at Hillside Cemetery with her daughter, but there is no record of burial there. It is possible that there was a relationship between Emily and Prince Powers or his wife, Betsy Damon. Prince and Betsy were both living in Ashford when Emily was living there, and were listed in the 1840 Monson census living adjacent to Samuel Wallace. Samuel was involved in selling the Power’s property following his death in 1863. Records list Emily as black.

Emily died between March 14, 1888 and February 7, 1889. There is no record of her death and her place of burial has not been located. Her parents, or other family members, have not been identified.

Samuel Wallace and Emily A. Green had at least 15 children:

1. SAMUEL WALLACE JR. was born in 1833 in Monson. On February 19, 1855 he married Sarah Jane Porter. They had at least three children: Isabella who died shortly after birth, Lyman who also died as a child, and Harriett who lived to adulthood.

By 1860 Samuel Jr. and Sarah were living in Palmer. In 1870 they were living in Springfield, and owned real estate valued at $1,000 and personal property valued at $500. They were living in the same house as William Mason and his wife Jane, and had three white boarders. Samuel Jr. and William were both couriers, and Sarah worked as a domestic servant. By 1873 Samuel Jr. and Sarah had moved back to Palmer.

Samuel Jr. served in the Civil War. He enlisted July 26, 1864 after being drafted to fill a quota for the Palmer 10th congregational district. He originally enrolled as a private in the Massachusetts 54th, and was then assigned to I Company, Massachusetts 55th Regiment on October 23, 1864. These were both all black regiments. He was mustered in at Boston and mustered out on August 29, 1965 at Charlestown, South Carolina. Samuel’s occupation at enlistment was a courier, and he was 32 years old. Military papers described Samuel Jr. as 5’11” tall, with dark hair, dark eyes, and dark complexion. He received a $300 bounty for enlisting – $100 received at enlistment and $200 at discharge.

Prior to his work as a courier, he worked as a farmer and laborer. In 1873, Samuel Jr. was working as a brakeman on the railroad. Samuel Jr. was 43 years old when he died on March 5, 1876 from consumption (tuberculosis). Samuel Jr. is buried in the Palmer Cemetery and his grave is marked by a gravestone. His wife received a widow’s pension of $8/month beginning August 19, 1890. By 1912 that had increased to $12 per month.
Sarah owned her home at 17 Pine Street in Palmer. She was 81 years old when she died January 27, 1913 from an intestinal obstruction, and is buried in the Oak Knoll Cemetery in Palmer.

2. BABY BOY WALLACE was born in 1835 and died on 22 Oct 1839 in Monson at four years of age.

3. SARAH M. WALLACE was born November 4, 1837. Her tombstone says that she was born November 4, 1840; however, her younger brother James was born June 11, 1840 so that cannot be correct. Her marriage record states that she was 24 at the time of her marriage in 1861, and the 1900 Federal Census states that she was born in 1837.

In the 1855 Massachusetts State Census, Sarah was found living in Northampton with other single individuals, and “convict” was indicated for those individuals. Her brother James was found in the House of Corrections in Springfield for the same year. I have found since I wrote about James last week that the term does not necessarily mean they were incarcerated, but might have been receiving housing and services because they were indigent. Terms used in 1855 were not always used the way we would use them today.

Sarah married George Pascal Law on September 14, 1861 in Palmer. George was a porter at the time of his marriage. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on July 16, 1863 as a sailor during the Civil War,  and was discharged August 15, 1864. He served as a waiter on the ships Wabash and Augusta Dinsmore.

Following the Civil War Sarah and her husband moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts. In New Bedford George worked as a shoemaker, a shirt cutter, a foreman in a laundry, and a clerk. He also received a pension from the Navy for his Civil War Service.

George died January 31, 1899 in Wareham, Massachusetts from inflammation of the bowels. He was 58 years old. Following George’s death, Sarah moved to Wareham where she purchased a house. Sarah was 90 years old when she died on June 26, 1928 in Wareham. They are buried in Centre Cemetery in Wareham.

George and Sarah Law
George P. Law Sarah M. Law

George and Sarah did not have children of their own. However, they adopted her sister Emily’s daughter, Katherine Louisa Mason, and Katherine was known by her adoptive parents’ name of Law.

probably Catherine Law
Probably Catherine Law

4. JAMES WALLACE was discussed in a previous blog.

Since this is such a large family, the next blog will continue with the stories of the children of Samuel and Emily.

The daffodils are finally blooming at our home in Massachusetts, and it is really feeling like Spring! Have a wonderful week.

Until next time….

James Wallace: A Stonemason, Farmer, Laborer and Civil War Veteran

Ancestors of James Wallace
When James Wallace was born June 11, 1840 he was the fourth child, of fifteen, and third son of his parents Samuel and Emily (Green) Wallace. One of his brothers had died before his birth, so he was greeted by his older brother Samuel and sister Sarah.

Both Wallace and Wallis are used in the records as the surname of this family. I will refer to the family as Wallace, which was more frequently used in latter generations.

When James was born in 1840, Martin Van Buren was the 8th President of the United States. Two years earlier the Cherokee Indians were forced off their farms and homes in the Southeast, and sent to Oklahoma, many dying along the way. In 1839, United States authorities took custody of the slave trading ship Amistad, and in 1841 the Supreme Court ruled that kidnapping and transporting Africans were against International treaties regarding the slave trade. and the Africans must be freed. The United States was in a major recession, which began during the Panic of 1837 and lasted until the mid-1840s. The Presidential election of 1840 saw Martin van Buren defeated by William Henry Harrison.

The Wallace family was one of the earliest black families to settle in Monson, Massachusetts. Monson is located is southwestern Massachusetts. It was incorporated in 1775, when it was separated from Brimfield. Monson was primarily a farming community in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In the 19th and 20th centuries, and particularly with the addition of a railroad through the town in the mid-1800s, industry began to develop. Major industry included woolen mills and a granite quarry. Palmer borders Monson on the north, Brimfield and Wales on the east, Stafford, Connecticut on the south, and Hampden and Wilbraham on the west.

In 1840, 3,146 individuals lived in Monson. This included 26 individuals of color. There were three black families – the Wallis, Powers and Johnson families. Twenty-one of the persons of color lived in these three families. The other five non-white individuals lived in white households. By 1850 the number of blacks in the town had increased to 65.

James’ parents owned their own small farm, which was located near the other black families in town. His father, as well as his brothers, worked for other farmers in the area, in addition to farming their own land. His mother, and probably his sisters, worked for other families in town, doing laundry and housekeeping.

James grew up working on the local farms, and hanging out with his neighbors and friends. However, when he was 15 he was living in the House of Corrections in Springfield as an inmate. I have not found information on why he was incarcerated, or for how long. By 1860 he was once again at home living with his parents.

On March 3, 1863 James enlisted in the Army as a Private, and served in the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, Company A during the remainder of the Civil War. The Massachusetts 54th was the first troop of black soldiers organized in the North, and in Massachusetts. His enlistment records say that he was 5’7” tall, with brown complexion and dark eyes and hair.

He proudly served his country. He participated in the siege of Fort Wagner in South Carolina. The 54th suffered a large number of casualties in this battle, his brother was wounded, and one of his friends from Monson was killed. During his service, he saw battle, marched throughout the South, including South Carolina and Florida, and suffered many of the illnesses soldiers encountered in the Southern climates, including malaria and smallpox. He was mustered out of service on August 20, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina.

After discharge from the Army, he returned to his parents’ home and spent the next three months in bed. It appeared that he had malaria and he was treated by a local doctor. It was about two years before he could begin working again, but he was never able to work at the same level that he worked before the War. He worked as a farmer, laborer and a stone mason.

There were at least three women in his life in the late 1860s, as indicated by birth records in which he was listed as the father. I’m sure that got a little complicated in such a small town!

Johanna Murphy, white and born in Ireland, and James had a baby girl born March 6, 1868. The baby died April 29, 1868 from inflammation of the bowels. In 1870, Johanna was living in the home of Henry Wallace, uncle of James, and Henry’s son Henry C., cousin of James. No additional information was found on Johanna.

James and Anna Marie Gibbons began their relationship about this time, and their daughter, Martha H. was born May 2, 1869. James and Anna would not marry until January 10, 1895.

His first marriage was to Mary Longto. Although there is no documentation of the marriage in the town records, the clerk stated in James’ affidavit for his pension that the records were incomplete, with many missing. James indicated he had been married previously when he and Anna applied for a marriage license.

Mary Longto was born about 1848 in Canada (Some records say she was born in Malone, New York which is on the Canadian border), and was white. They probably married between 1869 and 1870. In 1870, they were living together and he was working on a farm and she was home taking care of the house. James and Mary had at least five children.

  1. Ellen “Ella” Louisa was born in December 1870. She married Walter E. Brooks on May 12, 1897 in Boston. Walter worked as a waiter in Boston hotel restaurants. They had one son, Earl Henry Brooks. Earl served in the Army during World War II. I haven’t found a record of Ella’s death, but believe it was between 1930 and 1932.
  2. Baby girl was born, and died, December 19, 1871.
  3.  Henry Frank was born December 25, 1874, and died October 13, 1880 from the croup.
  4. Edwin was born in March 1877, and died October 24, 1878 from typhoid fever.
  5. Alice C. was born December 21, 1879, and died before 1918. She is not listed as a surviving child in her father’s obituary.

There might be one additional child. The 1880 census lists Frank, 6 years old, and Henry, 5 years old. I cannot find additional information on both boys. How heartbreaking it must be to lose so many of your children at such an early age. I can only find records of one child living to adulthood – Ella Louisa.

No death records have been found for Mary. She probably died before 1895, and James and Anna’s marriage.

James first applied for a disability pension as a result of his military service in 1888. He claimed rheumatism, varioloid (mild form of smallpox), fever and ague (malaria, resulting in fevers, sweating) as the reason for disability. In his application, he began having problems with rheumatism beginning in January 1864 during a march from Jacksonville, Florida toward Lake City. The cause was sleeping on the ground and exposure. In April 1865 he had varioloid and was sent to the hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. He was hospitalized about 12 days. He received light duty at that time until the close of war. He had his first attack of fever and ague at Gallops Island near Boston about three days before discharge. His application was denied.

He again applied for a disability pension in 1901, 1903, 1904 and it was finally approved in 1905 because he was over 62 years of age. All examinations said he was not sufficiently disabled in order to collect a pension. However, the final physical in the pension records stated there were significant effects and limitations because of rheumatism and other conditions caused by aging and the type of work he did. Later applications also stated that he had consumption (tuberculosis).

James was unable to write his name at the time he joined the army. He learned how to write after his discharge. However, according to affidavits included in the pension records, he did attend school. He does not say how many years he completed.

By 1901 he and his wife Anna were renting their home in Palmer on Dublin Street near the railroad road tracks. He and Anna continued to live in various residences on Dublin Street until his death. James was 78 years old when he died on May 19, 1918 from chronic intestinal nephritis, which would have resulted in kidney failure. He had been ill for two years.

Death of James Wallis

James Wallis, 77, died Tuesday morning at 2:45 at his home on Dublin street. He was a veteran of the Civil war, serving in Co. A of the 34th (54th) Massachusetts regiment, and a well known Negro resident of the town for years. Besides his widow he leaves three sisters, Miss Mary Wallis of Palmer, Mrs. Sarah Lawtor of Onset and Mrs. Betsey Thompson of Springfield, and two daughters, Mrs. Louise Brooks of Boston and Mrs. Charles Andrews of Palmer. The funeral was held from Phillips’ undertaking rooms this afternoon at 2 o’clock, with burial in Monson.
The Palmer Journal, Friday, May 31, 1918

James is buried at Hillside Cemetery, Monson in a lot owned by the Marcus Keep Post G.A.R. Lot 115, Section 9. This lot and grave is in the center section of the graveyard near the road.

Jas Wallis

The next story will be on Samuel Wallace and Emily Green, the parents of James.

Sunny today and the temperature has hit 60 degrees! Flowers are beginning to bloom and Spring is on its way. Have a great week.


James Wallace – Great Grandfather of Ruth Martha Andrews

March 3, 1863. JAMES WALLACE and his friend and neighbor HARRISON PIERCE leave their parents’ farms in Monson, Massachusetts and travel 14 miles to Springfield. Lieutenant John W.M. Appleton is recruiting soldiers for the Massachusetts 54th Infantry. About a month ago, Appleton opened the first recruiting office for the 54th in Boston. There were speakers at the stations who excited and inspired potential recruits to join the fight for freedom.

Young, single, and having spent their lives in rural Monson, James and Harrison are among the early recruits to the Massachusetts 54th. Going to war has the promise of adventure, and a steady pay check. They return home and share their excitement with their families.

The next day ALANSON WALLACE, the younger brother of James, travels to Springfield and enlists so that he can join James and Harrison on this adventure. They muster in at the end of March 1863, and less than four months later, are in a fierce battle attacking the confederate Fort Wagner on Morris Island, South Carolina. Harrison is killed and Alanson is

These men are the first of the family to join the Civil War effort. Many others will follow.

The Civil War had a tremendous impact on this family and their neighbors. We cannot tell the story of James Wallace without talking about this period of history. The men in the family went off to fight once they were welcomed into the Army. This included his brothers, Alanson and Samuel, cousins, in-laws and friends. Families were left to fend for themselves once their loved ones enlisted and left with their troops. The horrors of the War did not stop at the end of the War. The men came home injured and ill, which continued to affect them the rest of their lives.

In 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of United States. Our country was torn between the right to own slaves, and the right of all men to be free. The North was in the midst of an industrial revolution, and the South was a largely agrarian society very dependent upon enslaved labor. The Republican Party, and their presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln, were opposed to the expansion of slavery. Upon Lincoln’s election, seven of the southern states succeeded from the Union to form the Confederate States of America (CSA). They were later joined by six other slaveholding states. In April 1861, with the attack on Fort Sumter by the CSA, our country was at war.

Although blacks were free in the New England states they were not considered equal. Massachusetts allowed Blacks to vote, but they were disenfranchised in Connecticut and Rhode Island. New England was the heart of the Industrial Revolution. However, Blacks were commonly found employed as laborers, domestics and servants, and laundresses or washerwomen. Rarely were they found working in the factories.

As the North began to enlist men to fight in the Civil War, Blacks who wanted to serve in the Army were prohibited from joining. Allowing Blacks to join the military was very controversial, with opponents arguing that Black men would not make good soldiers. Although African-Americans had served honorably in every major conflict, including the American Revolution, a 1792 federal law prohibited Blacks from serving in the Army. [1] Needing additional men, Congress passed acts in July 1862 allowing Blacks to join the Army.

Recruitment of Black soldiers began in the fall of 1862, with the first regiments of free Blacks organized in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Kansas. [2] President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, freeing slaves in the states that had succeeded from the Union. Massachusetts was the first Northern state to organize a Black militia, the Massachusetts 54th Infantry Regiment. The history of this regiment was portrayed in the movie Glory. The Regiment began recruiting soldiers in mid-February 1863; advertising $13 per month, a $100 bounty at the end of the War, and aid for the soldier’s families. [3]

To Colored Men. 54th Regiment of African Descent
Massachusetts Historical Society Collections Online

“Not equal” for these new recruits continued. Once enlisted Black soldiers were paid less than their White counterparts; $10 per month, with an optional deduction from their pay of $3.00 for clothing, while white soldiers were paid $13 per month, and received a $3.50 clothing allowance. [4] Federal legislation limited the amount that Black soldiers could be paid, and it was to be less than that received by White soldiers.

The Black soldiers of the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, along with their White officers, refused to accept pay that was less than what their White counterparts received, even though Massachusetts was willing to make up the difference. It was a matter of principle. Black soldiers were not paid in a timely manner, creating additional hardships for families who depended upon their breadwinners to send money home. There was “near mutiny” in the Massachusetts 54th and 55th because of lack of and the inequality of pay, and more than twenty men of the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery (Calvin Dexter and Martin Philip Andrews serviced in this Regiment) were thrown into jail because of the soldiers discontent with the pay issue.

In June 1864, Congress enacted legislation allowing equal pay to Black soldiers retroactive to January 1, 1864, and retroactive to the time of enlistment for those who had been free on April 1, 1861. [5] Many soldiers had gone for over a year without receiving a paycheck by the time the rate of pay issue was settled.

Black soldiers faced additional risks of death if captured by Confederate soldiers. In spite of the long period without pay, the increased risks, and the hardships incurred in fighting the War, the soldiers served with valor and courage. One of the more notable battles occurred at Fort Wagner, a strategic confederate defense for the port of Charlestown, which involved the Massachusetts 54th. The Massachusetts 54th sustained heavy losses in this fight, but proved their bravery in combat by leading the attack on the Fort.

Black men composed over 10 percent of the Union Army and Navy, and over 40,000 died during the Civil War, with three-quarters of the deaths resulting from disease and infection. [6] Upon the end of the Civil War, the former soldiers returned home. With them, they brought the effects of the War, including disease and illnesses that often plagued them throughout the rest of their lives.

I have the pension and military records of James Wallace, his brothers, and his brother-in-law’s. The records help to understand the stories of these men and their families, and what life was like for the families both before and after the Civil War.

During the week, watch the movie Glory. It is a well-done movie, with a very good cast. I’m a big fan of Denzel Washington! It can be downloaded or rented from several on-line sources, and might be available for loan at your local library. The movie has new meaning when you are watching it knowing that members of your family served in this regiment.

The next blog will continue the story of James Wallace.

Have a great week….


[1] United States History: Racial Segregation in the U.S. Military,
[2] Luis F. Emilio, A Brave Black Regiment: The History of the 54th Massachusetts, 1863-1865 (DeCapo, 1995), 1-2.
[3] Ibid, 8-9.
[4] Racism against African Americans in the U.S. Military,
[5] James M. McPherson, The Negro’s Civil War: How American Blacks Felt and Acted During the War for the Union (New York: Vintage Civil War Library, 1993), 197-207.
[6] Teaching with Documents: The Fight for Equal Rights: Black Soldiers in the Civil War,

Anna Marie Gibbons Wallace – Great-grandmother of Ruth Andrews DeBoise

We are going to travel back to our family in Palmer and Monson, Massachusetts. One of the early posts on January 28, 2018 was on Charles “Charlie” Henry Andrews and Martha “Mattie” Gibbons. Charlie and Mattie were the parents of Blanche Louise Andrews, and the grandparents of Ruth Martha Andrews. We have reviewed the ancestors of Charlie. Now we are going to look at the ancestors of Mattie, climbing her family tree.  Anna Marie Gibbons Wallace is sharing her story with you.

Martha Gibbons Ancestors
Maternal ancestors of Martha Gibbons

Mattie was the daughter of James Wallace and Anna Marie Gibbons. Anna Marie was born April 1, 1845 in New York City. Per her death certificate and information given by her daughter, Mattie, her parents were Charles Gibbons and Martha A. Washington, and they were born in the “South”. The 1900 Federal Census for Anna indicates they were born in Virginia. No other information is known about them.

I first found Anna when she was five years old. In the 1850 Federal Census she was living at the Catholic Orphan Asylum in New York City. In 1855, when she was ten years old, she resided in Lee, Massachusetts, located in Western Massachusetts in the Berkshires, with Henry M. and Ann M. Carty. Henry was a farmer, they were both born in New York, and Henry and Ann were black. Henry and Ann had no other children. Around this time orphanages had started a system of “placing out” of their charges with families in the community. This is similar to our current foster care system, and might explain how Anna came to live with the Carty’s. Her home with the Carty’s was short lived. In 1860, when she was 15 years old, she was a servant in the home of Alexander and Emily Chapin in Springfield, Massachusetts. Alexander was a goldsmith and spectacle maker. She was still living with them five years later in 1865.

Anna probably met James Wallace after he returned from his service in the Civil War. James and his family lived in Monson. It appears that James was involved with several women at the time, which we will discuss when we look at his story. Anna got pregnant and they did not marry until many years later.

Between 1865 and 1870, Anna moved to Brookfield, Massachusetts. This might have been where she met James, since his great aunt, Dolly Wallace Hazard, and her children lived in Brookfield, and it is close to Monson. There were few black families living in the town, so it is likely that they knew and socialized with each other.

In 1870 Anna, a single mother, and her daughter Martha, who was born in 1869, were living with Rodney and Mary Howard in Brookfield. Rodney was a minister and Mary was a school teacher. Anna worked as their housekeeper. In 1880, Anna and Mattie are living with Roxanne Forbes and Anna was working as a domestic servant.

The romance and friendship between James Wallace and Anna continued. James married, became a widower, and then he and Anna married. On April 15, 1891 James and Anna were married by Reverend C. Martin in Monson. Anna was 46 and James was 50, and they remained together for the rest of their lives.

In 1900, Anna and her husband were living in Monson, but they moved to Palmer by 1901 where they remained. Between 1901 and 1918, when James died, they lived at 29 Dublin Street near the railroad. In 1910, Anna was working as a laundress in her own home. By 1920 she had moved in with her daughter and son-in-law on 20 Dublin Street. They were all living at 11 Pine Street at the time of her death.

On April 10, 1926, shortly after her 81st birthday, Anna Marie Gibbons Wallace died from cardio-vascular disease. She had been ill for at least two years. She is buried in the Oak Knoll Cemetery in Palmer.

(Note: Anna’s age given in the obituary does not match any of the other records for her.)

April 12, 1926 The Journal-Register, Palmer, Mass.
Mrs. Anna M. Wallace

Palmer – The funeral of Mrs. Anna Maria Wallace, aged 79, widow of James Wallace of Pine Street was held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the home of Bert L. Beers of North Main Street. Rev. C.A.S. Howe, pastor of the Second Baptist Church officiated and internment was in Oak Knoll Cemetery.

Mrs. Wallace leaves a daughter, Mrs. Charles Andrews with whom she lived and a great granddaughter Martha Ruth Andrews, also of Palmer. Mrs. Wallace was born in New York and has been a resident of Palmer for the past 50 years.

The next story will be on James Wallace, husband of Anna and great grandfather of Ruth Andrews DeBoise.

Until next time….

The Door to Freedom – Black Soldiers in the Revolutionary War

13 star American Flag pinterest

Ever wanted to be a member of the Daughters or the Sons of the American Revolution (DAR and SAR) but felt that descendants of Africans did not serve in the War, and therefore you could not qualify? Well, hold on! The family was right in the middle of the Revolutionary War, fighting for the freedom of this country, as well as for themselves and their families.

As we finish this branch of the family tree, we are traveling to Colchester, Connecticut. Colchester is East of Vernon, where we left Edward and MaryanneFreeman in the last post, and is located in New London County in southeastern Connecticut. This section of Connecticut was the largest slave holding region in New England.

Colchester is known for starting the Colchester School for Colored Children, founded in 1803 and located behind the Colchester Congregational Church near the town green. This was the first Connecticut school formed to provide education for black children. Black teachers were hired at town expense, and parents were expected to help pay the cost of their children’s education. The school was closed in 1848 as students were accepted into the Bacon Academy and local schools.

Colchester is a site on the Connecticut Freedom Trail. More information about the Freedom Trail can be found at  If you live in New England, this can be a good family day trip as the weather warms up.

Today we are visiting the Eli Freeman and Edward (Ned) Carter families, both of Colchester, the last twigs we have found on this branch. There is limited information available on these families, but enough, particularly on the Carter family, to give us a sense of their lives, as well as their service to their country. Two resources provided a great deal of the information and stories I have been able to find on these families:

James M. Rose, Barbara W. Brown. (1979) Tapestry: A Living History of the Black Family in Southeastern Connecticut. New London: New London County Historical Society.
Barbara W. Brown, James M. Rose, Ph.D. (2001) Black Roots in Southeastern Connecticut 1650-1900. New London: New London County Historical Society.

You can find these resources through your library, interlibrary loan, or copies for sale at various sites on the Internet. You will find more detailed stories, particularly on Ned Carter, his sons, and their Revolutionary War service, in these resources. I really recommend that descendants try to purchase a copy of Tapestry. The story of the Revolutionary War experience of the Carters is something that you will want to pass on to your children and grandchildren.

The parents of Edward Carter Freeman, who we discussed in the last post, are EliFreeman and Sarah Carter, both of Colchester. Eli was born around 1765, probably in Colchester. In 1800 he was listed in the Colchester Federal Census as head of a family of six and as a free man of color. He was not listed as an independent household in the 1810 census. All free people of color in Colchester were listed as part of a white person’s household, so they are unable to be identified separately. In the 1820 census, there were five in the family: one male under 14 years old, one male 14 to 25 years old and one male over 45 years. There was one female under 14 years old, and one over 45 years. One person was employed in agriculture, probably as a farm hand.

The identity of Eli’s wife and the birth dates of his children are taken from the ledger of Dr. John R. Watrous of Colchester, who delivered the babies. Eli married Sarah Carter about 1790.

Eli and Sarah had at least seven children. Very little is known about the children. All were born in Colchester.

  1. Child was born October 1791 and died February 17, 1795 in Colchester.
  2. Child was born in May 1793 and died December 1, 1795 in Colchester.
  3.  Child was born in December 1794 and died December 1, 1795 in Colchester.
  4.  Child was born in October 1796.
  5.  Child was born in September 1798.
  6.  Statira was born between 1800 and 1804. In 1870 she was living in Hartford and working as a housekeeper.
  7.  Edward Carter Freeman was born January 18, 1815, and died April 20, 1890 in   Vernon.

Eli probably died between 1820 and 1830. He was not found in the 1830 census.
Sarah (Sally) Carter was the daughter of Edward (Ned) and Jenny Carter. The dates of Sarah’s birth and death are unknown, but if she is the daughter of Jenny she would have been born before her mother’s death in July 1766. If she was born in 1765, she would have been 31 at the birth of her first child, and fifty at the birth of her last child. There was a large gap in ages between child six and seven; however, it is possible for a fifty year old woman to have a child. It is also possible that Sarah’s mother was Sybil, her father’s second wife and Sarah was born after 1765. There is no documentation to support which woman was Sarah’s mother. Sarah’s death is unknown.

Ned Carter, Sarah’s father, was probably born around 1720. He was originally the slave of Jonathan Kellogg of Colchester. [1] Ned Carter served at Crown Point (Fort on Lake Champlain on what is now the border between New York and Vermont) during the French and Indian War in 1755, and was emancipated because of his service in the war. However, his family was still enslaved. His wife, Jenny, was also a slave of Jonathan Kellogg. Several of Ned and Jenny’s children were given as property to Jonathan’s sons.

In January 1776, the Continental Congress approved a plan allowing free Negroes to serve in the Continental Army. In May 1777 Ned and his son Esau enlisted. Esau was emancipated in May 1777 by Israel Kellogg, his owner and son of Jonathan Kellogg, so that Esau could join the Army. Asher, another of Ned’s sons, enlisted May 1, 1777, which meant he had to be emancipated before this date. Ned’s son, Aaron, was emancipated by Christopher Comstock of Chatham. Aaron paid 40 pounds for his freedom, which was probably what he received for entering the service as a substitute for Salmon Root of Chatham. A fourth son, Edward Junior, also enlisted in the Spring of 1777. He had already served nine months before he reenlisted. He and his family were emancipated as a result of his service. The Carters were in many of the important battles of the Revolutionary War, and suffered through the difficult winter at Valley Forge. Tapestry gives an amazing summary of the various campaigns the Carter family fought in, and their contribution to achieving independence from Britain.

Jenny, Ned’s first wife, was a slave of Jonathan Kellogg. She was baptized in the First Church of Colchester on April 11, 1742. In 1750 three children, listed as servants of Jonathan Kellogg, were baptized. These children were probably hers. Jenny and Ned had at least seven children:

  1. Edward (Ned) Carter Jr was born about 1750. Edward married Eunice Williams around 1773 in Chatham. By 1805 he and his family had moved to and purchased property in Ellington. He also changed his last name to Chappell. His grandson, who identified as Indian, would marry into the Andrews family. Edward and Eunice had at least 11 children. He collected a pension from his Revolutionary War service, as did his widow after his death. He died February 26, 1826.
  2. Esau was born about 1755. Jonathan Kellogg willed 10 year old Esau to his son Israel in 1765. [2] In February 1770 Esau was arrested for breaking the Sabbath. Israel paid the fine. Israel emancipated him in 1777 so that he could join the Continental Army. After he returned from military service, he married Anna. By 1800, he had moved to Tolland, Connecticut and was living beside his older brother Ned. There were six in the family. In 1810 he was living in Willington with 9 in the household. He died between 1810 and 1820. His wife is listed as head of the household in the 1820 federal census.
  3. Sarah was discussed previously, and might not be the daughter of Jenny.
  4. Aaron was born about 1745, and married Rachel Bolles in 1765. He purchased his freedom from Christopher Comstock in 1777 and entered the Continental Army. In 1790, he was living beside his brother Jacob, and had ten in his household. In 1793 the town of Colchester gave him supplies to move, and he moved to Windsor, Connecticut where he died in 1797. Rachel moved to Middletown and collected a pension based on her husband’s service.
  5. Jacob was given as a child to Joseph Kellogg, Jonathan’s oldest son. When Joseph died in 1762, Jacob was given to his oldest son Silas. In 1783, he was a free person and was warned by the town of Colchester to leave, along with his wife Mercy. That warning was later rescinded and Jacob stayed in town. He was in the 1790 Federal Census with four in the household. In 1794 his father, Ned, was living with him and the town paid for his board. Jacob died October 30, 1794. His wife continued to care for Ned after Jacob’s death. Jacob and Mercy had at least two children.
  6. Asher was emancipated by 1777 when he enlisted in the Continental Army. He did not receive family supplies so he would have been single. Following the War he married Rachel (last name not known), and was living in Middletown by 1812. Rachel and Asher had at least two children. He was listed in the 1820 Federal Census for Middletown with six in the family. Asher died before 1830. His widow was listed in the 1830 Federal Census with four in the family.
  7. Child died April 12, 1763.

Jenny Carter died July 25, 1766. We know that not all of her children were free when she died. We do not know if she had been given her freedom before her death.
Ned Carter married (2) a woman named Sybil following Jenny’s death. They had at least two children.

  1.  Amos was probably born between 1766 and 1770. He was billed by Dr. John Watrous of Colchester for medical treatment of his mother in 1790. He was referred to as both Amos Carter and Amos Ned. No record has been found for him after 1794.
  2. Infant child baptized in sickness October 22, 1774. Nothing else is known about this child.

Sybil died around 1794. Her husband, Ned Carter, then lived with his son Jacob, and his wife Mercy. Since the town of Colchester paid for his expenses and board following his wife’s death, Colchester threatened to sue the heirs of Jonathan Kellogg for his support. The suit was dropped upon his death on January 10, 1797.
[1] Timothy Hopkins. (1903). The Kelloggs in The Old World And The New. California: San Francisco.
[2] Ibid., Volume 1, p. 46.

You can get a free e-copy of the Kelloggs book on Google books. You can also purchase copies through The book has information on the family who were the slaveholders of the Carter family, which includes some information on their slaves.

This concludes the stories on this branch of the tree.

The next post will bring us back to Monson and Palmer, Massachusetts and the Wallace family. The Wallace family is one of the earliest black families to settle in these towns.

Until next time….