Saturday, May 30, 2015

52 Ancestors Challenge ~ Week 18 Finding a Connection to Louisa May Alcott

I fall further behind, as this week should be #21!!  The theme for week #18 is Where There's A Will.  I managed to come across a will and inventory of an ancestor's estate close to 15 years ago thanks to a genealogist with the historical society in Harvard, Massachusetts.

The most exciting find in this packet of documents she sent to me is that Captain Simeon Turner, my 5th great grandfather, owned the property and farmhouse that Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane rented in 1843 for their Utopian experiment and named "Fruitlands."  Simeon Turner purchased the property in 1773, moving north and west from Marshfield, Massachusetts.  His first wife died within their first year here.  Fruitlands has been restored and is now a museum with artists in residence, a beautiful spot for weddings and events.  I need to visit to see how much if any of my ancestors' original home is still there.

In the pages detailing the settling of his estate, there is a listing of his heirs.  This provides me with several more avenues to explore if I'd like to.  It also confirmed my line, indicating that his daughter Bethiah is the Bethiah Turner who married Warren Kent from Marshfield, Massachusetts and moved to Readfield, Maine and Kent's Hill.  (I had been attempting to trace my line through women, which can be rather tricky as they are just tick marks and not named in early Census records)  Through these documents, I also discovered the real name of one of Warren and Bethiah's sons.  According to Census transcriptions, their son's name was "Duvelle," which really puzzled me.  Reading these documents, I discovered that Simeon Turner's mother's maiden name was Dwelly.  He had named two sons Dwelly, one dying very young and the second being one of his two sons by his second wife. That makes so much more sense for their son's first name than "Duvelle."

"In the fourth year of American Independence," Simeon Turner gives "one half the Real Estate Farm Land premises in said Harvard on which farm I now dwell"   "in consideration of the love and good will which I have and do bear towards my son Consider Turner of said Harvard.......and also in consideration of $6000.00."  This document was written in November 1779 and recorded in December 1781.  As he nears the end of his life, the other half of his farm and buildings is divided into thirds between his second wife and the heirs of some of his sons.

On May 17, 1802, Simeon Turner, 84 years old, writes his last will and testament.  By this time, . three of his sons are deceased leaving four sons and two daughters.  He leaves his second wife as much of his estate as is necessary for her support and also his great bible while she remains his widow.  He also leaves her all the household furniture she brought with her at the time of their marriage.   He bequeaths $20 to the heirs of his son Prince Turner.  He bequeaths $1 to his son Elisha Turner.  To his daughter Bethiah, wife of Warren Kent, he bequeaths $20.  To his daughter Rachel, $125 as well as his side saddle, six silver tea spoons and his three green dining chairs. Rachel is unmarried at this time.  He bequeaths $16 to his granddaughter Nancy Newman, daughter of his deceased son Luther.  To his sons Dwelly and Caleb and the heirs of his deceased son Simeon, he bequeaths all the rest and residue of his estate to be equally divided.  His son Consider is not mentioned, but he had purchased one half of the farm twenty years earlier.

There are pages detailing the selling of his property and the settlement given to all his heirs, including the heirs of his son Elisha who is also deceased by this time.  The selling of the divided parts of the property  to Samuel Sprague took place from 1806 through 1818!  It appears that Simeon's widow remarried and had purchased a portion of the house and property from Dwelly and Caleb (Simeon's sons born to her).  I cannot tell definitively from these pages, but it appears that Sprague still owned the property when it was rented to Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane.

Monday, May 18, 2015

It Happened Again

I am not sure exactly when it happened. I arrived home to this scene Thursday mid-morning. I haven't been filling the main bird feeder since early April but I have kept the thistle feeder going.    I thought with all the dogs in the neighborhood we'd certainly be spared.  I guess I needed to bring the feeders in.  At least the intruder left the thistle feeder instead of carrying it off a distance, although the shepherd hook with the main feeder took a hit.  Some people insist that the feeders need to come in at night.  That hasn't made a difference in the past.                                                                                              
This picture is from May 22, 2012.  My daughter and her daughter's nurse spotted this fellow coming into the yard and taking the bird feeder over the stone wall and then sitting there eating the seed in the early afternoon!  At least this time my bird feeders remained unscathed.

Monday, May 4, 2015

52 Ancestors Challenge ~ Week 17

Oh I'm terribly late but trying to catch up!

On this date in 1898, my grandmother was born, the oldest of two girls.  I've been told she was named for her uncle; that two brothers James and Jesse named their children after each other.  As I look over records, I would more think she was named for her aunt, my great grandmother's sister who died at the age of 26 when my great grandmother was 14.  Jessie Almira died 8 months after her mother.  It is hard for me to fathom that my great grandmother lost her mother and sister in such a short span at such a tender age.

My grandmother had red hair like her grandfather.  My mom tells me she wanted to be a teacher like her namesake.  Instead, she married at 18, gave birth to 9 children, raising 7 to adulthood.  Her sister and sister-in-laws only had one or two children. She and her husband lived with her parents until roles were reversed and her parents lived with them.  While my mother and her siblings went to public school, my grandmother had a large burlap cloth tacked on a wall that changed with each month while her children were growing.  She would cut out letters and decorate it for the seasons as a teacher in school would.  Papers and projects from her children would be tacked here as well.  My grandmother was "editor-in-chief" of a family newspaper.  It was a delight to see she had saved some of these in a suitcase with old letters and photos.  Her children were to write stories, poems, draw cartoons or pictures, and submit articles.  It was great reading.

Gramma Jessie had a sweet and gentle disposition.  I never heard her raise her voice and I think my mother will vouch for that as well. She had such a love for children.  As I read through some of her journals written when her husband took a job at a Christian college in New York, she is always having people in for coffee or supper, and very often watching children for other faculty members. In their 70's, she and my grandfather took care of a little girl a few days a week while the little one's  mother worked.

Paul and Jessie with the beginnings of grandchildren.  They would end up with 36!  My oldest brother is the chubby little one on my grandfather's lap.
 Her husband cherished and adored her and when she had her first major heart attack in the 1960's, he took her to Florida and monitored her diet, cooking salt free and giving her plenty of fruit and vegetables.   I remember a few visits we were able to make in the early '70's, the long drive from Massachusetts, pulling into their driveway and seeing my grandfather brushing her hair and braiding it into two braids for the night.   She kept her red hair long and swept up in a bun until she died.  He watched over her so carefully it was a shock that he died first, suddenly in their home in Florida of a heart attack.   She lived six years without him spending her last few with my parents.

She exemplified the love of Jesus Christ.  Self-sacrificing, giving, loving, patient, gentle and kind.  Her heart's desire was that her children and grandchildren would know her Savior and she prayed over them daily.