Monday, October 20, 2014

An Autumn Visit to Dunbarton, New Hampshire

We recently moved to Manchester, New Hampshire.  Nearby, almost next door except for a sliver of Goffstown, is the small town of Dunbarton.  We had never been there, and enjoyed our visit very much.  It was a lovely fall day, and just barely warm enough for a ride in the little red convertible with the top down.  We found this statue on the common next to the town hall (the white building in the background).

In 1759 Major Caleb Stark, the first child of General John and
Molly Stark, was born in Dunbarton at the home of his 
grandfather now known as the Molly Stark House.  At age 15, 
he left this house and his grandfather, Capt. Caleb Page, on
the eve of the battle of Bunker Hill to join in the American
Revolution.  He represents Dunbarton's own minuteman and
his likeness is embossed on the Town Seal.  He was wounded
 at the Battle of Saratoga and, during the closing stages of the
conflict, served as an adjutant to his famous father.  After the
war, he married Sarah McKinstry and built the Satrk Mansion
where he entertained General Lafayette in 1825.  He was tireless
in his pursuit to arrange for payments for service of Revolutionary
War officers and his efforts suceeded when lands in Ohio were
granted as compensation.  He died in Ohio in 1838 and is buried 
at the Stark Cemetery on Mansion Road in Dunbarton.

Statue donated by Laraine and Herbert Allen

Pedestal donated by Marion Crosby from land formerly
part of the estate of Capt. Caleb Page

Memorial Day 2002

This is the Dunbarton, New Hampshire town seal mentioned on the plaque above.

The Molly Stark House is located just a few miles away from the center of Dunbarton, where the statue and town hall are found.  

Built by her father, Capt. Caleb Page, c. 1759, 
this was Molly Page's home in her youth and
as the wife of Gen. John Stark.  Their first
son, Caleb, who served with his illustrious
father during the Revolution, was born here, 
as was Molly's brother, Jeremiah Page, later 
a Superior Court Justice and delgate to
the first Constitutional Convention (1778).
This structure also housed the first Dunbarton
Post office (1834). 

This sign is on the corner across from the Molly Stark House, on the intersection of the Stark Highway (which leads to the center of Dunbarton and the statue) and the road to Concord, New Hampshire.  

General John Stark was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire, and he was a member of Roger's Rangers.  He became an officer in 1757, just before the French and Indian War.  He married Molly Page and had eleven children.  He joined the Revolutionary War right after the Battle of Lexington, and saw action at Bunker Hill, the Battle of Trenton, the Battle of Bennington, all the way to the end of the war when he returned to Manchester, New Hampshire.  General Stark is famous for the phrase "Live Free or Die", which now the New Hampshire State motto.  He lived to the age of 94, and was the last surviving Revolutionary War general. 

Click here to read a previous blog post about General John Stark:

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, October 19, 2014

2014 New England Geneablogger Bash

The New England Genealogy Bloggers assembled in Farley, Massachusetts for another bash!  We had a wonderful time and Sarah Campbell was again a terrific hostess.  Her home was quite historical, and she led tours from the attic to the basement.  Quite a few bloggers attended this year, along with some other local genealogists and historians that Sara had invited.

Besides eating and chatting (and chatting, and chatting, and more chatting), we heard a delightful tale from Shari Strahan about the genealogist Joe Manning and his genealogy projects on the child laborers seen in the famous photographs of Lewis Hine.  It turns out that Joe’s genealogy mentor was Sara!  It’s a long story and I'm so glad she put it into a blog post at this link: .  We also had a long discussion about NERGC 2015 in Providence, Rhode Island (Midge smuggled in an early copy of the schedule and conference brochure).   No keynote speakers at NERGC 2015? Hmmmm….

The fall foliage was spectacular, there was a little rain but it didn’t dampen spirits, and a pumpkin took a nose dive off Sara’s front porch… In other words, we had a terrific time!

These New England Genealogy Bloggers attended the bash:

June Stearns Butka  “Dame Gussie’s Genealogy Rants”

Sara Campbell (our hostess again!)  “Remembering Those who Came Before Us”

Midge Frazel  “Granite in my Blood”

Tim Firkowski  “Sherlock's Genealogical Adventures”

Barbara Matthews, blogger for the Mass. Genealogical Council  “The MCG Sentinel”

Elizabeth Pyle Handler “From Maine to Kentucky”
And she also writes “A Jewish Genealogy Journey”

Lori Lyn Price  “Bridging the Past”

Barbara Proko “Basia’s Polish Family: From Wilno to Worcester”

Heather and Vincent Rojo “Nutfield Genealogy”

Pam Seavey Schafner  “Digging Downeast”

Sheri Strahan

Bill West  “West in New England”

To see a complete list of New England genealogy bloggers, go to the Facebook Group “New England GeneaBloggers” and click on the “about” button to see a long list of wonderful blogs.   If you are a blogger who lives in New England or blogs about mostly New England topics, please join the group and introduce yourself!

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ SPARKS of Ipswich, Massachusetts


The first record about John Sparks dates from 24 July 1650 when “John Sparke” was apprenticed to Obadiah Wood “bisquit maker” (baker) in Ipswich, Massachusetts.  [“Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts”, 1911, 1:200] Obadiah Wood was married to Margaret Spark, John’s sister.  In 1664 John was a renter in half of a house owned by Thomas Bishop, an Ipswich merchant.  In this house he had a bake shop and a tavern.  When Bishop died, John had to leave this house and he bought a lot in 1671 where he set up another bakery and “ordinary” (tavern).  He received his first license to “sell beere at a penny a quart, provided he entertain no Town inhabitants in the night, nor suffer any to bring wine or liquors to be drunk in his house.”  He kept this tavern for 20 years until he sold this property to Colonel John Wainwright.  [The Early Homes of the Puritans: And Some Old Ipswich Houses, by Thomas Franklin Waters, 1997, page 49]

There is no mention of John Sparks of Ipswich in either The Great Migration series, or in the book New Englanders in the 1600s by Martin Hollick.

My SPARKS lineage:

Generation 1: John Sparks, born about 1630 probably in England, died before March 1704 in Ipswich, Massachusetts;  probably married first on 26 November 1661 in Boston to Mary Sinnet, daughter of Walter Sinnett; married second about 1666 to Mary Roper, daughter of Walter Roper and Susan Unknown. 

Generation 2:  Elizabeth Sparks, born about 1666 in Ipswich, died 10 April 1692 in Ipswich; married on 25 December 1684 in Ipswich to Jacob Perkins, son of Jacob Perkins and Elizabeth Whipple, as his first wife.

Generation 3:  Elizabeth Perkins, born 18 March 1691 in Ipswich, married David Burnham

Lineage A:

Generation 4:  David Burnham m. Elizabeth Marshall
Generation 5: Amos Burnham m. Sarah Giddings
Generation 6: Judith Burnham m. Joseph Allen
Generation 7: Joseph Allen m. Orpha Andrews
Generation 8: Joseph Gilman Allen m. Sarah Burnham Mears
Generation 9: Joseph Elmer Allen m. Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 10: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

Lineage B:

Generation 4: Westley Burnham m. Deborah Story

Lineage B1:

Generation 5: Westley Burnham m. Molly Woodbury
Generation 6: Henry Burnham m. Sally Poland
Generation 7: Sarah Ann Burnham m. Samuel Mears
Generation 8: Sarah Burnham Mears m. Joseph Gilman Allen (see above)

Lineage B2:

Generation 5: Sarah Burnham m. Abner Poland
Generation 6: Sally Poland m. Henry Burnham (see above)


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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, October 17, 2014

Photo Friday ~ Two Cousins in Spain

The photograph above is my mother-in-law, María Josefa, and her first cousin,  José Manuel in Spain about 1935.  The photograph below was taken of the same two children a few years later, 
during the Spanish Civil War. 

These two cousins had an especially close relationship.  Their parents were two brothers who married two sisters, so they are considered double first cousins. My mother-in-law was an only child, so her playmates were her cousins.  You can see in the photographs below, that although they are both now in their 80s, they are still very close.

Click here to see another blog post with a photo of the same two cousins:  

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thank You to the County Clerks website!

In the past I have visited the County Clerks website , but not often since in New England most vital records are not kept at the county level (except for Connecticut, where I have very few ancestors).  There was a contest at this website last month to vote for genealogy blogs, and Nutfield Genealogy came in second place!  Woot! Woot!  Thank you very much Adam Murphy, the author of this website!

The first place winner at this contest is The Memoir Writing Blog at with 437 votes.  At second place, Nutfield Genealogy received 196 votes, and in third place Genealogy: Beyond the BMD, had 167 votes.   Thank you to everyone who voted for me.  Visit the other blogs on this list. There are some good ones I didn’t know about, including The Memoir Writing Blog which is new to me.  Visit this page to see all the votes:

And don’t forget to visit the County Clerks website     It was founded by Adam Murphy of New York.  Last year he visited Salt Lake City for a ski trip and had an unexpected layover.  He spent the day exploring and visited the LDS Family History Library.  Adam had no idea that such a place existed.   He also found that genealogy was a fascinating pastime.  Upon returning to New York he continued to research his family, and the idea for the County Clerks website was born.

In order to obtain original records, a genealogist must contact a county clerk.  But it can be difficult to google which clerk, and how to contact them properly for certificates. Adam realized that there was no one website which consolidated all this information. 

Adam also told me that he will be switching domain names to soon, so stay posted at for more information on the move to the new website.  He also plans to expand to more data useful for genealogy such as district attorneys, sheriffs, treasurers, jails and other local county research contact information.

Thank you to all my readers who voted for me, and thank you Adam!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Ship with full Rigging

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly.  I started by publishing weather vanes from the Londonderry area, but now I've been finding interesting weather vanes all across New England.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are interesting. Often, my readers tip me off to some very unique and unusual weather vanes, too! Today's weather vane is from a historic home in Massachusetts.

Do you know the location of weather vane #178? Scroll down to the bottom to see the answer!

Today's weather vane is on display in Four Star General George S. Patton's personal office at the Patton Homestead in Hamilton, Massachusetts.  This office wing, including a library and master bedroom, was built just before World War II.  General Patton intended to retire to this country estate after World War II, but he was killed in a jeep accident in 1945 and never came home to this office or house.

This weather vane used to be on top of the main estate house.  The house was built in the 1790s, and was owned by the Patton family from 1928 until 2012.  The Patton family donated the main house and 27 acres of land to the Town of Hamilton.  The Patton Archive is located here in the former master bedroom, just barely visible through the door in the bottom photograph.  The archivist here had no further information on this weather vane, although it was known to be on the house before the Patton family owned the building.

For another blog post about another weather vane on display at the Patton Homestead, click here: 

For a blog post about the Patton Estate, click here:  

Click here to see the entire series of Weathervane Wednesday posts!

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Four Small Children

These tombstones were photographed at Pine Hill Cemetery in Hollis, New Hampshire.

memory of two
Children, a son & dau. of
Lieut. Benjamin & Mrs. Mary

Sarah died Sept                  Noah died Sept
11th 1798 in the 7th           16th 1798 in the 5th
Year of her age.             Year of his age.

In memory of
Leonard Farley
Son of Lieut. Benjamin
& Mrs. Mary Farley
who died Sept. 27th
1796 Aged 4 days.

(To me this little carving looks like a child in a coffin)

[the stone on the right side]

memory of
Caleb, Son of Lieut.
Benj & Mrs. Mary
Farley, who died
July 26, 1825
AEt. 14.

These four children of Benjamin and Mary Farley all died young.  Two died within five days of each other.  Benjamin Farley was born 27 June 1763 and married Mary Blodgett of Dunstable on 15 February 1787 in Hollis, New Hampshire.  They had nine children, and only four lived to adulthood and married.  Another child, also named Sarah, lived only from 1807 - 1822. 

Benjamin and Mary Farley lived at the Four Corners on the house property that is now the Country Kitchen restaurant in Hollis.  It is located at the intersection of Routes 130 and 122 (Proctor Hill Road and Silver Lake Road).  You can read all about their house at this link: 

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Rogers Group Poem by Robert Frost

A Rogers Group
by Robert Frost

How young and unassuming
They waited in the street,
With babies in their arms
And baggage at their feet.

A trolley car they hailed
Went by with clanging gong,
Before they guessed the corner
They waited on was wrong.

And no one told them so
By way of traveler's aid,
No one was so far touched
By the Rogers Group they made.

I last blogged about Rogers Groups and the sculptor John Rogers more than a year ago at this link:   These large statuettes were popular during the Victorian period, and were very sentimental and patriotic.   They were immensely popular not just in New England, where they were designed and manufactured, but all over the United States.  Each figurine featured groups of several people posed in scenes from American history, literature or popular culture.

As you read this poem by Robert Frost, can't you just imagine the street scene?  A young family, or perhaps a group of immigrants, waiting on a street corner with all their trunks and children.  After looking at photos of many, many Rogers Groups I'm surprised it wasn't the subject of one of his statuettes.  This Rogers Group sculpture was actually found in the Robert Frost house, and is now on display in the museum in the barn at the Robert Frost farm in Derry, New Hampshire.   The figurine is called "Coming to the Parson", dates from 1870, and it shows a young couple approaching a minister to discuss their upcoming wedding plans.

Robert Frost Farm
122 Rockingham Road
Derry, New Hampshire

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo