Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Crane with a Great Story!

I post a series of weather vane photographs every Wednesday.  This started with images of weathervanes from the Londonderry, New Hampshire area, but now I've found interesting weather vanes all across New England and across the globe.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are interesting.  Often my readers tip me off to some very unique or unusual weathervanes, too!  If you know a great weather vane near you, let me know if you'd like to have it featured on this blog.

Today's weather vane is from somewhere in Massachusetts.

Do you know the location of weathervane post #278?  Scroll down to find the answer.

This is the only weathervane I've ever photographed on a fountain!  This three dimensional gilded crane symbolizes the Three Cranes tavern that stood here in City Square, Charlestown, Massachusetts from the 1630s until the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, when it burned to the ground along with most of the neighborhood.  Thank you to Linda Hall Little for the photographs of this amazing fountain, which is right in her own neighborhood.

The Three Cranes tavern was owned and operated by the LONG family of Charlestown for over 140 years.  The original immigrant, Robert Long (1590 - 1663) was my 9th great grandfather.  You can read all about the LONG family at this link:    In the 1980s there was an archaeological excavation on this land because the central artery project ("The Big Dig") was going to dig a tunnel right under here.  The excavation uncovered the foundations of the Three Cranes tavern.  After the tunnel was built, and the park was designed, sculptor David Phillips created this fountain and weathervane in 1996.  See below for some amazing details carved in the fountain.

Tomorrow I will be publishing a story with lots of photographs of the City Square park and the uncovered foundation walls of the Three Cranes Tavern, and more history and family history to go with the photos. Stay tuned! There are some amazing stories of genealogy, serendipity, tragedy and coincidence in tomorrow's blog post.

The top two photos are by Linda Hall Little, author of the genealogy blog Passage to the Past

A short history of City Square, the tavern and the new park at this link:

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


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Crane with a Great Story!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 28, 2016,  ( accessed [access date]).

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Oliver Fletcher, Esquire, died 1771, Chelmsford, Massachusetts

This tombstone was photographed at the Forefather's Burial Ground in Chelmsford, Massachusetts

Memento Mori
Oliver Fletcher Esqr
departed this Life
Novr 30 1771
In the 63d year of his Age
and his remains
are here interred

This tombstone was interesting because of the three dimensional skull carved above the epitaph.  Last week I photographed the tombstone of Lt. Benoni Perham in the same cemetery for the same reason.  However, these were the only two tombstones with three dimensional carvings like this.  The others are all traditional, two dimensional carvings.  According to Find A Grave, this tombstone was made by carver William Park.  Park was a Scottish stonecarver who was famous in Middlesex County for first carving death's heads, which evolved into carving cherubs as time passed. 

side view of the skull's head detail

Oliver Fletcher, son of William Fletcher and his wife, Mary, was born 10 September 1708 in Chelmsford, and died 30 November 1771 in Chelmsford.  He married my 2nd cousin, nine generations removed, Grace Weld, in Roxbury on 13 November 1766.  She was the daughter of Joseph Weld and Elizabeth Chamberlain. Her grandfather was Joseph Weld (1650 - 1712), my 9th great grand uncle, son of John Weld (1623 - 1691) and Margaret Bowen, my 10th great grandparents. 

Oliver Fletcher was a lawyer and school teacher in Chelmsford.  He graduated Harvard College in 1735.  He held many town positions (town clerk, selectman, assessor) and acted as legal counsel for individuals in court at Cambridge or Concord (he signed documents, wills, depositions, etc.). 

His obituary appeared in the Boston Gazette Monday, 9 December 1771:
"Died at Chelmsford the first Instant, Oliver Fletcher, Esq;  He had his education at Harvard College: took his Degrees in 1735 & 1738, has been many years a Justice of the Peace for the County of Middlesex and Quorum Unus:  He was Councellor in the Law, and, for some years a Member of the House of Representatives, in all which he sustained a good Character and Reputation.  He has left a sorrowful Wife & a young Daughter; and his Death is lamented by his Friends and Acquaintances, and is a publick Loss." 


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~  Oliver Fletcher, Esquire, died 1771, Chelmsford, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 27, 2016,  ( accessed [access date]).

Monday, September 26, 2016

"Old Planters Reunion", Beverly, Massachusetts

This forefathers plaque can be found at the Cabot House, Beverly Historical Society, in Beverly, Massachusetts


JOHN BALCH                   MARGARY             3
HENRY BALEE                 DOROTHY             4
JACOB BARNEY              ELIZABETH           3
EDWARD BISHOP            MARY                     3
JOSHUA BISSON              MARTHA               5
JOHN BLACK                   SUSANNA              1
JEREMIAH BOOTMAN   HESTER                  6
THOMAS CHUBB             AVIS                        4
ROGER CONANT             SARAH                    7
SAMUEL CORNING         ELIZABETH           4
MIGHILL CRESSY            MARY                     1
WILLIAM DIXEY              ANNA                     8
RICHARD DODGE            EDITH                    7
WILLIAM DODGE            ELIZABETH          4
JOHN EDWARDS              MARY                     2
RALPH ELLINWOOD      ELLEN                    7
ANDREW ELLIOT            GRACE                   6
EDMUND GALE               SARAH                   4
JOHN GALLY                    FLORENCE            4
EDMUND GROVER         MARGARY             6
ROGER HASCALL           ELIZABETH           9
ROGER HASKINS            RUTH                      2
HENRY HERRICK            EDE                          8
ROBERT HIBBERT          JOAN                       9
JOHN HILL                       ABIGAIL                 6
WILLIAM HOARE           DORCAS                  6
FRANCIS HOOPER          JULIAN                    2
ISAAC HULL                    SARAH                    3
NICOLAS LAGROVE      HANNAH                5
RICHARD LAMBERT      ESTHER                  2
HUGH LASKIN                 ALISE                      2
THOMAS LOTHROP        BETHIA                  8
JOHN LOVITT                  MARY                     5
ROBERT MORGAN         MARGARET           6
RICHARD OBER             ABIGAL                   9
JAMES PATCH                 HANNAH                5
JOHN PATCH                   ELIZABETH            6
NICOLAS PATCH            ELIZABETH            2
THOMAS PICKTON       ANN                          0
DANIEL RAY                  BETHIA                    2
JOHN RAYMENT           RACHEL                   6
WILLIAM RAYMENT   HANNAH                 5
JOSIAS ROOTES            SUSANA                  4
JOHN SALLOWES         HANNAH                 6
THOMAS SCRUGGS     MARGARY              3
JOHN STONE                  SARAH                   4
JEFFREY THISTLE        MARY                     2
OSMAND TRASK          MARY                   10
THOMAS TUCK             JOAN                      3
JOHN WEST                    MARY                    3
JOHN WOODBERY        AGNES                  5
PETER WOODIN             ELIZABETH        4
PETER WOOLFE             MARTHA             2

APRIL 19, 1913

Every two years the Beverly Historical Society hosts the "Old Planters Reunion" for descendants of the first settlers in what is now Beverly, Massachusetts.   This weekend was a three day event that included historic house tours, cemetery visits, lectures, a visit to the city hall archivists, a dinner at the Hale Farm, the annual Balch and Woodbury family reunions, and other events. We had a wonderful time in Beverly meeting lots of cousins and having fun.  I'm descended of a lot of these "Old Planters" including BALCH, BLACK, DODGE, DIXEY, ELLINWOOD, GALE, HASKELL, HERRICK, LEACH, STONE, THORNDIKE, WEST, TUCK and WOODBURY.

Are you descended of one of the families listed above?  Or other early Beverly families? The best way to be informed about the next reunion is to join the Beverly Historical Society, and they will mail you information and registration forms for 2018.  (see the link to click on the reunion brochure PDF below)  I hope to see you at the next  "Old Planter" reunion!

Dan Driscoll, Beverly City Archives Volunteer
describes the vast range of documents in the city vaults

Your truly poring over town clerk records from the 1600s

The John Balch House on Cabot Street with newly renovated facade.
This house dates from the early 1600s

Reunion participants touring the Balch House
Salem State University Archaeology Professor Emerson "Tad" Baker
describes artifacts found during excavations at the Balch house. 
Dinner in the backyard of the Hale Farm.  It was built in 1694 by Rev. John Hale
who played a large part in the 1692 Salem Witch Hysteria. 

We toured the Old North Beverly burial ground and also the
well hidden Dodges Burial Ground, and found lots of ancestors!

We finished the weekend with a tour of the Beverly "Gold Coast"
on the schooner "Fame".

Lots of cousins helped to lift the sails for our tour of Beverly Harbor. 

Beverly Historical Society -  

Old Planters Reunion 2016  PDF


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, " "Old Planters Reunion", Beverly, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 26, 2016,  ( accessed [access date]). 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Surname Saturday ~ PIERCE of Charlestown and Woburn, Massachusetts


Thomas Pierce (1583 – 1666), my 11th great grandfather, is of unknown origin.  He was made a freeman on 6 May 1635 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and he received a land grant of 4 acres at Charlestown in 1636.  By 1638 he owned 10 lots totaling 97 acres.  He married Elizabeth Unknown , who was admitted to the church at Charlestown on 10 January 1644/5, and Thomas was admitted on February 21st.

In 1643 Thomas Pierce moved his family to Woburn, where he was made a proprietor in 1643.  He made his will in Cambridge in 1665, at the home of Thomas Danforth, the treasurer of Harvard College.  There was a provision for the college, as well as for his wife and children in his will.

Thomas Pierce's Will
Cambridge in New England, Novemb. 7th, 1665

I, Thomas Pierce of Charlestown, aged about 82 years, being throw the goodness of ye Lord of sound judgment & memory, and in some measure of bodily health, do ordaine & hereby declare my last Will and testament, in manner and form following; viz: my soul, which I believe is imortall, I do desire humbley and believeingly to resign it unto the father of spirits, who gave it to mee, and to remit borth body and soul into the everlasting mercyes of God, the father, Sonne, and Holy Ghost. My body I desire it may be decently interred, at the discretion of my loving wife whom I do ordaine and make sole Executrix of this my Will. And for my outward Estate wherewith the Lord hath gratiously blessed me, I do dispose thereof as follows, viz. to Harvard College twenty shillings to be payed within one year after my decease. To Mary Bridge, and Elizabeth Jeffs, two of my grand-children now dwelling with mee I do give ten pounds apiece, to be paid by my Executrix as soon as she can with convenience, but not to be compellable thereto for and during to years after my decease. The residue of my estate, my just debts and funerall expenses being first payed, I do give and bequeath unto my loving wife Elizabeth, to have and to hold the same during her life, and at her pleasure to be helpful to any of my children as shee shall see meet in her discretion, by giveing or lending to them any part thereof: And before he deceased I do give her power to make her will, and by the same to bequeath nay part thereof by gift or legacy as shee shall see meet, and after her decease such part thereof as sahll beby her unexpended, and not disposed of by her before her decease, I do will and bequeath ye same in manner following - viz: To all my grandchildren I do give ten groates apeece, and the remainder to be equally divided among my children. My will is that the younger shall have eaquell with the eldest, I have formerly done for them according to my ability. Finally I do nominate my loving friends, Mr. Ri: Russel * Mr. Thomas Danforth*, and my sonne Jno. Pierce overseers of this my will; by whose advise and consent of them or the more part of them I do give my Executrix full power to settle all my lands on such of my sonnes, as shall approve themselves in the feare of God, and duty to their aged mother, and on such conditions as they shall meet also I do nominate Lift. Randall Nicholls (this name is in place if one erased, I think Lowden) to be added to my overseers above named, provided always it is my declared will yt my Executrix shall not alienable or dispose of any of my lands so as to deprive all my sonnes of the same, but I do giver her power by the advice of my overseers as above is expressed to dispose of the whole to any one of my sonnes according to her discretion, but not to divide the same into parcels. In witness whereof I do hereunto sett my hand and seal the day and year first written.

Thomas Pierce is the ancestor of two US Presidents.  He is the ancestor of Barbara Pierce Bush, wife of President George H. Bush and mother of President George H. W. Bush.  He is also the ancestor of President Franklin Pierce.

My PIERCE genealogy:

Generation 1:  Thomas Pierce, born about 1583 in England, died 7 October 1666 in Charlestown, Massachusetts; married Elizabeth Unknown.  She was born about 1595 and died after 22 March 1667 in Woburn, Massachusetts.  Eight children.

Generation 2: Thomas Pierce, Jr., born about 1620 in England, died 6 November 1683 in Woburn; married on 6 May 1635 in Charlestown to Elizabeth Cole, daughter of Rice Cole and Arrald Unknown.  She was born about 1619 and died 5 March 1688 in Woburn. Thirteen children.

Generation 3:  John Pierce, born 7 May 1643 in Woburn, died 25 May 1720 in Woburn; married on 1 July 1663 in Woburn to Deborah Convers, daughter of James Converse and Anna Long.  She was born 25 July 1647 in Woburn.  Ten children.

Generation 4: Ebenezer Pierce, born 1687 and died before 16 May 1766 in Wilmington, Massachusetts.  He married Mary Wilson, daughter of Samuel Wilson and Elizabeth Pierce (no relation).  She was born 10 April 1685 in Woburn, and died 17 January 1747 in Woburn.  Nine children.

Generation 5:  Deborah Pierce, born 4 November 1709 in Woburn, died 1739; married on 11 March 1730 in Woburn to Increase Wyman, son of Nathaniel Wyman and Mary Winn.  He was born 1 March 1707 in Woburn and died 5 September 1739 in Woburn.  Five children.

Generation 6: Increase Wyman, born 4 June 1732 in Burlington, Massachusetts, died before 1776; married to Catherine Unknown.  She died 19 January 1783. Ten children.

Generation 7: Jemima Wyman m. Joshua Burnham
Generation 8: Jemima Burnham m. Romanus Emerson
Generation 9: George Emerson m. Mary Esther Younger
Generation 10:. Mary Katherine Emerson m. George E. Batchelder
Generation 11: Carrie Maude Batchelder m. Joseph Elmer Allen
Generation 12: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, " Surname Saturday ~ PIERCE of Charlestown and Woburn, Massachusetts”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 24, 2016 ( accessed [access date]). 

Friday, September 23, 2016

First Day of School, circa 1940

This photograph was taken at 10 Roosevelt Avenue,  Hamilton, Massachusetts

My mother thinks this might be a photo of her first day of school.  In this photo she is posing on the front steps with her two brothers, Buddy and Donnie.  There were seven siblings in the Allen family, and only two were girls.   The youngest son, Dickie, wasn't born until 1942.  Mom's Allen family lived in Hamilton, Massachusetts and the children went to the Lamson School.  This school closed in 1952 when the Manasseh Cutler school was built. The Lamson School became the town library, and then was demolished in 1961.  The land is now an elderly housing complex.  After my grandmother (the mother of the children in the photo) was widowed in 1982, she sold this house in the photo and moved into the elderly housing apartment complex.   

My Mom likes to joke that every school she ever attended is gone.  Her elementary school was razed and her high school is gone. After high school Mom attended the Beverly Hospital school of nursing, which is also gone. 


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "First Day of School, circa 1940", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 23, 2016, ( accessed [access date]).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts

My cousin recently sent me a large box of documents and photos that had belonged to my grandparents.  Among the photos were many of 7 Dearborn Avenue in Beverly, Massachusetts.  Four generations of our family lived here, including me!

7 Dearborn Avenue
(nice photo of the street)

September 1962
You can see my Dad on the sidewalk
with his rolling golf bag

September 1962
That's me in the stroller!

This one was labeled on the back
"Heather Christmas 1962"

This one was labeled on the back, but undated
"Susan and Bertha"
Susan is my first cousin,
Bertha is our grandmother

This Purchase and Sale agreement is between my grandparents and my parents, dated 20 September 1962 (around the same time as the top three photographs were taken).  They sold the house to my Dad for $13,500, and then retired to Long Beach, California.  Inside this paperwork was a description of the sale to my grandmother from her parents dated 4 October 1930.  

My grandparents were married in this house on Thanksgiving Day, 26 November 1925.  I have no photographs of their wedding, but my grandmother described the day "I married Don and his people were very nice to us.  And when we got married we just had a quiet family wedding.  I still kept on working for a while.  And of course we were married on a Thanksgiving Day 1926.  I think the date was November 25th, 1926.  I remember that day was quite hectic but we had the family, and an Episcopalian minister married us.  We went to Boston for just a couple of days.  My sister stayed with my mother and then I kept on working.  Oh, when we went away for our honeymoon Don's sister tried to pull away his suitcase for him.  And he kept hanging on to it and he got a black eye from the door banging into his eye.  So he had a black eye on our honeymoon and people joked about that but he really didn't feel a bit good. And Don's cousin gave us tickets to see "The Student Prince" and then we went to the "Miracle" while we were in Boston."  [from a tape recorded conversation with Bertha Wilkinson made by my uncle, Richard Wilkinson, sometime in the 1970s]. 

I hereby certify that on the
twenty sixth day of
November 1925
I joined together in Holy wedlock
Donald M. Wilkinson
Bertha Louise Roberts
in Beverly, Massachusetts
according the laws of the State of Massachusetts
                            Signed by me
             Eugene J. V. Theiqueau
          Rector, St. Peter's Church
Ellen Thornton Roberts      [John's neice, daughter of Harry Roberts]     
William John Blades   [future brother-in-law (married Janet Wilkinson, 
               Donald's sister]                                

My grandmother's parents, John Peter Bowden Roberts and Emma Warren, emigrated from England with two of their children in 1915. Their daughter, my great aunt Hilda, had married and was living in Beverly, along with one of John's brothers, Harry Roberts.   They first lived in a boarding house at 60 Colon Street (around the corner).  By the 1920 census, John and Emma were living in the house on 7 Dearborn Avenue in Beverly, and were listed as the homeowners. 

Generation 1: John Peter Bawden Roberts, son of Samuel Roberts and Mary Anne Stott, born August 1865 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, died 23 August 1925 at 7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts; married on 24 May 1890 at St. Clement's church, Sheepscar, Leeds to Emma Frances Warren, daughter of Obed Thomas Warren and Betsey Hannah Stimson.  She was born about 1865 in Peterborough, England and died 1927 in Lynn, Massachusetts.  Four children.  My great grandparents.

Generation 2:  Bertha Louise Roberts, born 30 September 1897 in Leeds, died 17 March 1990 in Long Beach, California; married on 26 November 1926 at 7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts to Donald Munroe Wilkinson, son of Albert Munroe Wilkinson and Isabella Lyons Bill.  He was born 23 October 1895 in Salem, Massachusetts, and died 24 July 1977 in Long Beach.  Three sons.  My grandparents.

Generation 3:  John Warren Wilkinson, born 3 January 1934 in Beverly, died 7 August 2002 in Worcester, Massachusetts- my father.

Generation 4:  Me!  I lived at 7 Dearborn Avenue from 1962 until 1969.  We removed to Holden, Massachusetts.

My Dad (the baby) and his two brothers, 1934,
in front of 7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts

For the truly curious:

Who was living at 7 Dearborn Avenue for the 1940 census?

Easter 1965 at 7 Dearborn Avenue:

Four sets of twins on Dearborn Avenue in the 1940s  

7 Dearborn Avenue, 2016
photo by my cousin Susan Wilkinson Parker,
pictured above in the undated photo 


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 22, 2016, ( accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Seen in a Valley!

I post a series of weather vane photographs every Wednesday.  This started with images of weathervanes from the Londonderry, New Hampshire area, but now I've found interesting weather vanes all across New England and across the globe.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are interesting.  Often my readers tip me off to some very unique or unusual weathervanes, too!  If you know a great weather vane near you, let me know if you'd like to have it featured on this blog.

Today's weather vane was photographed in New Hampshire.

Do you know the location of weathervane post #277?  Scroll down to find the answer.

Last week I posted a photo of the weathervane on the steeple of the Bedford Presbyterian Church, which is on a hill above the historic district of Bedford, New Hampshire.  I pulled into the back parking lot and saw this house below the church.  On the cupola was a beautiful eagle weathervane.  This large, three dimensional eagle looks like it is just landing on the big ball above the cardinal points. Or is it just flying off? Either way, the eagle was a great choice for this beautiful valley view.

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


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ Seen in a Valley!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 21, 2016,  ( accessed [access date]).

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Benoni Perham, died 1774, Chelmsford, Massachusetts

This tombstone was photographed at the Forefather's Burial Ground in Chelmsford, Massachusetts

Here lies ye Body
of Lt. Benony
Perham Son of
Mr. Samuel & Mrs
Sarah Perham
who departed
this Life Feb. 10th 1774
Aged 25 Years 10 M
                and 27 days

This tombstone caught my eye because of the very three dimensional winged head peeking out from the tombstone. All the other winged heads in this cemetery were flat.

The ancestry of Lt. Benoni Perham:

Generation 1:  John Perham, immigrant from Coventry(?), England to Rehoboth, Massachusetts about 1640.

Generation 2:  John Perham, born 1633; married Lydia Shipley on 15 December 1664 and removed to Chelmsford about 1666.

Generation 3:  Benoni Perham, born 1676 and died about 1723; married Sarah Robbins.  He was one of the "Snow Shoe Men" of Dunstable who marched north with Captain William Tyng in the of winter 1703/4 during Queen Anne's War.

Generation 4: Samuel Perham, born 4 March 1715; married Sarah Richardson on 11 April 1741

Generation 5:  Lt. Benoni Perham, born about 1748, died 10 February 1774, unmarried.  Buried in Chelmsford.

[ from The History of Chelmsford, Massachusetts by Wilson Waters, 1917,  page 809]


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ Benoni Perham, died 1774, Chelmsford, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 20, 2016 ( accessed [access date]).