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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Nicholas Snow Descendant

Edward Rowe Snow was born August 22 1902 in Winthrop MA. He was the third son of Edward Sumpter Snow and Alice Rowe Snow. His two older brothers were Winthrop and Nicholas Hopkins Snow and his younger brother was Donald Snow. At the time of his birth, they were living at 16 Cottage Ave.,  on Cottage Hill. From this hill, you could look north across Winthrop Beach to Nahant or you could look south along the Point Shirley stretch to Deer Island. To the west and south west was Boston Harbor, Crystal Cove, Belle Isle Marsh and East Boston.

He was literally within an easy walk of salt water in almost every direction. His grandmother, Caroline Rowe lived with them as well. She was a 58 year old widow in the 1900 census and at age 78 was still living with the family in the 1920 census.

By the 1930 census, only the two younger sons were still living at home and Caroline is no longer listed. His other grandmother, Lucy A. Snow had lived at 62 Beacon St., not far from their home on Cottage Hill. She died in Apr. 1912 of Bronchitis and is buried in Rockland ME. His father was a Commission Merchant in 1900. His mother, Alice, was barely 5 feet tall yet all four of her sons reached the height of 6’+. She had an extraordinary influence on her son, Edward. She had spent her childhood and youth on board a ship, the barq Russell (and probably others over the years) and had stories to tell of adventures around the world. Her father, Joshua N. Rowe, was a Master Mariner and plied the oceans making his living.

Edward Rowe Snow graduated from Harvard and with a Master’s degree, from Boston University. He taught high school in Winthrop for a few years, during which time my oldest cousin was one of his students. During WWII, he served in the Army Air Force  XII Bomber Command. Mr. Snow became known for a variety of reasons. Besides being a teacher, he was a historian, preservationist, lecturer, chronicler, writer, and storyteller. He hosted his own radio program, wrote a column for the Patriot Ledger, a newspaper in Quincy MA, and in 1936 began helping the Flying Santa Program, which he continued to do until the 1970’s. He is credited with being one of the leading personalities in saving Fort Warren, a Civil War era fort, on Georges Island, in Boston Harbor.

He inherited his love of the sea from the many sea captains in his father’s Snow family and from his mother’s extraordinary experiences with her seafaring father.  He was the author of 100+ publications. Many of his books centered in and on  New England, the islands, shipwrecks, pirates, lighthouses and storms. His books are a cornucopia of New England life from some of its earliest days to the 20th century. I have read as many of them as I can find and I still marvel at this man’s bravery. Not many would tackle the ocean in a canoe, paddle through ice, dive from lighthouses or walk thousands of miles throughout New England, but he did all of them. In the Aug. 2, 2012 edition of The Winthrop Sun Transcript, Tink Martin noted a piece of historical news, “This week in 1959 Edward Rowe Snow completed an 800 mile walk from St. John, New Brunswick to Boston.” He also walked all over Cape Cod, keeping a journal of all he saw and those he spoke to. He died in 1982 and is buried in Marshfield MA.

Edward Rowe Snow was a Stephen Hopkins descendant, through Nicholas Snow, and so am I.  I’ve been doing some serious research trying to find out how his family connected back to Nicholas. Little did I know there were a gazillion Snows in Maine. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Through a process of elimination and a whole lot of determination, I came up with an answer.  Much of the early Snow pedigree is firmly documented by the Mayflower Society. Those generations are:

Nicholas Snow and Constance Hopkins
John Snow and Mary Smalley
John Snow and Elizabeth Ridley
Isaac Snow and Apphia Atwood (This couple removed to ME from Truro MA)

Generations born in ME:

For his father:
Elisha Snow and Betsey Jordan (s/o above Isaac and Apphia)
Elisha Snow and Nancy McKown (2nd wife)
Larkin Snow and Alice Small
George L. Snow and Lucy Ann Snow
Edward Sumpter Snow and Alice Rowe

For his mother:
Robert Snow and Susannah Mingerson (Bro. of 1st Elisha)
Israel Snow and Lucy Woodbury Thorndyke
Lucy Ann Snow and George L. Snow (They were 2nd cousins)
Edward Sumpter Snow and Alice Rowe

My connection back to Nicholas Snow makes Edward Rowe Snow and I, 8th cousins 1x removed.

For anyone wishing to pursue their own research in ME, the Snows lived in and around Rockland, Thomaston and South Thomaston and earlier in Brunswick,  Harpswell and St. George. Later some moved to Bangor. 

There is a memorial to him in Marshfield, where he and his wife and daughter lived, and a small tribute to him in Winthrop at the base of Cottage Hill at Beacon Circle, across the street from where Lucy Snow, his grandmother, lived when she died.

American Family Antiquity, Albert Wells, Society Library, 1881
1850, 1860, 1870 1880 Census Rockland Maine
1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 Census Winthrop MA
Lucy A. Snow Death Certificate


Thursday, August 23, 2012

   Every once in awhile, I like to share another one of my favorite topics. Once I leave my cerebral cave, at the computer, I indulge in my other passion - horses. There are currently 4 living on this little horse farm, a Quarter Horse, an Arabian, an Arabian/Quarter Horse and a wonderful buckskin Mustang. This is where I get my exercise. You don't have to ride every day, there's always plenty of work to do. I've been passionate about horses since I was a kid. I found them amazingly beautiful and later learned they have the most endearing souls. Each breed is so different, each with their own specialties, each with their own history. I love them all, even the pasture bred 'mutts.'
   While researching different family lines in genealogy, it is impossible to miss the role horses played in our ancestors' lives. Generally they were all purpose, serving the family in many different ways. In today's petrol-powered, life on the fast track world, we forget that a little over 100 years ago, our ancestors relied heavily on the horse. Horses have a very different role in today's society. For the most part, gone are the heavy harnesses, the drudgery of hauling wagons, and the role it played in transportation. Unfortunately, the worst aspect of their lives still exists - abuse. I would ask anyone knowing of a situation where abuse is suspected to do what's right and report it.
   As often happens, someone sends me an article or picture(s) of something special. Recently I received a link that showcases the amazing Friesian breed. It is believed that these stunning horses were first used as war horses. They are lighter than some of the other draft breeds, making them agile and quick on their feet. This was really an important feature for a horse to have when a spear is heading in your direction. Later they were used as cart horses, pulled barges in the canals, and as farm animals. Today, they're are used in harness and under saddle and have entered the world of dressage.

    The breed was developed in Friesland, a northern area of The Netherlands.  It is thought to be descended from the primitive Forest Horse. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Andalusian (a breed found in Spain) blood was added, but the Friesian bred true to form, regardless. They are almost always black and stand 16 hands or more. A decline in their numbers occurred by the late 19th century and by 1906 there were only three purebred stallions left to revive the breed. Displacement of the breed by gas driven vehicles and tractors, played a heavy role in their dwindling numbers. In 1913, a group formed dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the breed. Today all registered Friesians can be traced back to the three stallions still surviving in 1906.

  You'll find Friesians in the show ring, driving competitions, pleasure riding, dressage and even motion pictures. However, Hollywood uses their eye catching beauty in ways to add to the drama of the story, but may have forgotten to check out the time line, historically speaking. Some 'history' movies use this breed before it was known to exist.
   This breed is an expensive one to purchase. Youngsters start out at around $5000 and I've seen some stallions advertised for $25,000. Although I love the way this breed looks and moves, love the stable, easy-going temperment, I'm afraid it's too pricey for me to own. I share this link with you for your enjoyment.

The KFPS Friesian Horse -   YouTube

These guys are just playing - FEELING GOOOOD!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sylvia Plath, Winthrop, MA

          It all began in Feb. 1963 when the news broadcast the death of Sylvia Plath. I had never heard of her and was surprised to learn, that she had lived in Winthrop MA when she was in grade school. Since she was the same age as my oldest sister, I mentioned Sylvia Plath to her. Not only did she remember her, but she remembered walking to school with her and some other kids that lived nearby. What? She lived near us? Yes she did. She lived in one of the houses on Johnson Ave. that backs right up to the harbor. Now, truth be known, the family had moved from Winthrop before I began my warp speed bicycle rides down Johnson Ave., yet somehow I now felt a connection to this person I had never known. I must have passed her house hundreds of times as my bike took me to nearly every nook and cranny on the peninsula.

          My sister bought about every book of Plath’s, even those published after her death. I don’t know if she ever read any of them. It may have been a tribute to a long lost childhood friend. I took a less aggressive path and checked her books out of the library. Truly, I don’t know what I thought I would find, but I was astounded to see myself in the mind of such a troubled person. Her father died when she was eight. Who’s to say if this was the catalyst that pushed an overly sensitive child over the edge, or whether it would have happened anyway given any other set of circumstances. Yet this very capable, brilliant and creative child grew into a woman with insurmountable demons. Her mother Aurelia Schober, grew up in Winthrop, on Shirely St., at Point Shirley. Sylvia spent a great deal of time there with her grandparents. Many of her poems that deal with the ocean are from those memories. Little did I know while growing up, that her grandparents lived a short distance from Yirrell Beach, a place where I spent a great deal of time.  There was a store just a couple of blocks from the beach where we would go for a cold drink or a snack. Again, not knowing, I passed her grandparents house going and
coming, each time we all trekked to the store.

          Her grandparents were both born in Austria and her father was born in East Prussia, or Poland, depending on where the boundary lines were at the time of his birth. This was a second marriage for him. Aurelia was one of his students and was 21 years younger. In the 1940 census it says that she had completed 5 years of college and that Otto was a professor at a university. He was an entomologist and worked at Boston University.  It’s been revealed that Otto had come under the scrutiny of the FBI during WWI for suspected pro-German allegiance. He had trouble finding jobs, was considered to have a ‘morbid disposition’ and there seemed to be no one who really knew him. Perhaps this was a description of what might have been a disorder leading to depression and it may have been genetic, which could explain a great deal about Sylvia. But then he died. He had a type of diabetes that was treatable in the 1930’s but he thought he had cancer. When he was finally forced to go to the Dr. it was too late for them to help him. After his death, Sylvia’s mother taught junior high school in Winthrop for a couple of years, until she moved her family to Wellesley, where Sylvia completed her growing up years.         
          While at Smith, Sylvia attempted suicide with pills, hiding out in a crawl space under a porch. She entered a sanitarium where she received 6 months of treatment. She finally returned to and graduated from Smith, then having won a Fulbright Scholarship, she went to England to study. There she met and married her husband, Ted Hughes and they had two children. During his marriage, Ted had an affair with Assia Wevill. Mr. Hughes was well known for womanizing, which caused the marriage to disintegrate. During the coldest winter in 100 years in England, Sylvia, alone with her two children in an apartment, left food beside the children’s beds, closed herself off in the kitchen by sealing all the cracks with wet towels, stuck her head deep inside the oven, turned the gas on and lost the battle with her demons.

          The saga should end there but it doesn’t. Assia Wevill gave birth to a child, which Mr. Hughes admitted could be his. Six years after Sylvia’s death, Assia did the same thing, except she turned the gas on and curled up beside her child and they both died together.

          Then on March 16 2009, Frieda Hughes, Sylvia’s daughter, announced the death of her brother, Nicholas, at age 47, by his own hand. He had hung himself at his home in Fairbanks, Alaska. His sister stated that he had been battling depression for some time. He had been a fisheries scientist at the University of Alaska, where he had earned his Doctorate. Perhaps the descent of insanity ended here with him.

          To read The Bell Jar, her autobiography, or any of her poetry is an exercise in  absorbing her vivid imagery. It’s often difficult to follow her convoluted thoughts and to withstand the intensity of her anger, which sometimes leaps off the pages. She was a complex person loving her father immensely and hating him just as intensely for leaving her. Her love/hate relationship with her mother eventually led to estrangement.

          In Electra on Azalea Path, she describes the cemetery her father is buried in as similar to a charity ward, crowded and poor. This may have been the way her tortured mind saw his grave, but, in fact, this cemetery is quite nice. It does have an iron spike fence around it and it is full, densely shaded and peaceful. My grandparents, gt. grandmother, my mother and my sister all share this space with Otto Plath. An aunt and uncle, a cousin, many friends of my parents, dear sister of my best friend and her parents, all have addresses near to Azalea Path. It really isn’t what she described. But, once again, I have walked by Azalea Path hundreds of times, not knowing I was so close to where Sylvia and Ted Hughes stood or knowing that Otto Plath rested there.
          To the best of my knowledge there is no memorial anywhere in Winthrop to Sylvia Plath. She lived there just a few years, during a time when she wasn’t very noteworthy. Winthrop is not an aloof town as I’ve heard it described, but it once was a resort town, a place where ‘summer folk’ come for the wind and the waves. I don’t suppose the town should be required to memorialize every famous person who has spent a bit of time there. Yet, it might be nice to have something, maybe near the library, to let people know that a famous, if tragic, poet once lived there.




Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Kennedy Connection

The Kennedy Connection

          Growing up in the back pocket of Boston, I was surrounded by history, politics and a distinct sense of pride and patriotism. After all, Winthrop had been around for three hundred years before I ever set foot on its soil. We shopped where Indians had walked and camped. We had only to take a fairly quick subway ride to Boston, get off at Devonshire, walk around the building and stand where the Boston Massacre had taken place. In today’s vernacular – history was ‘in your face.’ Boston’s politics may not have been about stamp taxes and tea parties anymore, but it was alive and active. What happened in Boston leeched over into all the surrounding areas, whether you were a part of it or just a not so concerned kid growing up.

          Honey-Fitz was a name I heard spoken fairly often. John Francis Fitzgerald was a mover and groover in Boston politics having served in the state senate, served six years in Congress and then was elected mayor of Boston, the first American born Irish Catholic to be elected to that office. His efforts to improve Boston’s harbor proved successful and increased the amount of port traffic to and from Europe. All of this happened during my mother’s growing up years, which must have impressed her, since she mentioned him often enough for me to be familiar with the name.

          Patrick J. Kennedy served three terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and also in the MA State Senate. Ultimately his power was centered in East Boston, Ward 2, as a “ward boss.” Kennedy became a successful business man, first as a saloon keeper and eventually was instrumental in the organization of The Columbia Trust Co.

          Patrick Kennedy, from East Boston, and Honey-Fitz, from the North End, were at times rivals among the Irish factions in Boston and the surrounding towns. Eventually, Kennedy became a supporter of Honey-Fitz, although he remained active, he stayed in the background. 

          In 1915, Patrick, while living in East Boston, began to summer in Winthrop, the very next town to the NE. Eventually he bought a ‘summer’ home there, across the bay from Boston, in 1918.  By this time, Patrick’s son, Joseph, had met and married Honey-Fitz’s oldest daughter, Rose Fitzgerald, formally uniting these two powerful Irish families. As we are all aware of (I hope), Joseph and Rose were the parents of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Bobby and Ted Kennedy, Eunice Shriver and several others. It is claimed that Joseph would bring his children to this summer home on Washington St. where they learned to swim and sail.

The Kennedy 'cottage' is on the far right.

          Over the course of time, the house was sold and renovated. During one remodeling the original deed and a photo of Joe Kennedy as the Capt. of the Boston Latin baseball team were discovered. The current owners contacted the Kennedy family regarding these items and in 1992 Ted Kennedy made arrangements to visit their home.

          As I was growing up, I remember going down Washington St. frequently and having the “Kennedy” house pointed out to me. When Winthrop held its Bicentennial, I remember being told that a man sitting on the back of a convertible in the parade was John Kennedy. I believe he was running for the Senate at that time. I loved hearing the story my father told about his paper route. My father grew up in East Boston. He and his older brother had paper routes but they had to go Maverick Square to pick up their papers. He said, “Many times while returning from picking up our papers, I sold a paper to a well dressed man in front of the Columbia Trust Co. He would be just coming out of the bank at about 4 PM. I later learned that the bank belonged to the Kennedy family and my occasional customer was Joseph P. Kennedy, father of President John F. Kennedy.”

          The name Kennedy was as much a household word as the Boston Red Sox. The family was becoming a dynasty and they were in the news frequently. It‘s nearly impossible to be in Boston and not touch history, and little did I know that I was, even in a small way, touching new history of another era.

Winthrop Then and Now by Dave Hubbard

Frank Pye’s Memoirs

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Do you have a Governor in your family?

Do you have a Governor in your family? 

Sometimes it’s difficult to sort out all the different settlements in the early days of colonial New England. One settlement began in Maine, in 1607, but only lasted about a year. Still it managed to have two Governors: George Putnam and Raleigh Gilbert. Another short lived colony was located at today’s Weymouth. It, too, lasted only a little more than a year, with two Governors, Richard Greene and John Sanders. Plymouth, the colony that survived and became a beacon of hope to others, had an elected Governor from 1620-1680. John Carver was the first to hold that office, but ended with his death after only 5 months in office. William Bradford served the longest, more than 30 terms (years), but not sequentially. Thomas Prence served about 18 years, Edward Winslow, 3 years, Josiah Winslow, 7 years and then Thomas Hinckley, 9 years, who was considered the last Governor of Plymouth Colony.  All the while this was happening in Plymouth, The Massachusetts Bay Company established a colony, in 1628, at Shawmut, later to be called Boston. During the course of the next 64 years there were a number of elected Governors, probably the most notable being John Winthrop. Since there was a good number of Governors between the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies, if your ancestors were amongst the early settlers, it is possible one of these men may show up on your family tree.  

In my family, we are descendants of Governor Thomas Prence. He was b. near Lechlade, Gloucstershire, about 1600 to Thomas and Elizabeth (Tolderby) Prence. At some point his family moved to London where his father was a carriage maker. In earlier records the name was mostly spelled ‘Prince,’ but after arriving in Plymouth on the ship “Fortune” in 1621, the young, single Thomas used the spelling ’Prence.’ Thomas married four times and had children by three wives. The first was Patience Brewster, d/o William Brewster, Mayflower passenger. They had four children: Rebecca, Thomas, Hannah and Mercy. Thomas was the only son born and he returned to England where he married and had a daughter, but died about 1672 at age 45.  Rebecca married Edmond Freeman, while sister Mercy married Edmond’s brother, John Freeman. Hannah married Nathaniel Mayo. Patience died in 1634 during a pestilent fever outbreak; Thomas then married Mary Collier. Four more daughters were born, Jane married Mark Snow, Mary married John Tracye, Judith married Isaac Baker, and Elizabeth married Arthur Howland. With his third wife, Apphia (Quick) Freeman he had one daughter, Sarah who married her step-brother, Jeremiah Howes. Thomas Prence left no male children to carry on the Prence name. There is some dispute about the children Mary and Apphia had. I have chosen one suggested parentage, which may or may not be accurate.

Prence was not one of the religious dissenters but he did sympathize with them. Early, after his arrival, he became involved with leadership roles, perhaps because he was one of eight men who assumed the pilgrim’s debt to London merchants. He moved to Eastham in 1644 and was considered one of the founding fathers of that town. He moved back to Plymouth in 1663, where he remained until his death in 1673. Prence didn’t have much tolerance for or show much leniency toward the Quakers, but generally, showed his conservative nature and was noted for his kind treatment in dealing with the Indians. Although, much to his displeasure, his daughter Elizabeth did marry Arthur Howland, a Quaker.  He was also an advocate for and helped establish afree school system in Plymouth Colony.
Thomas Prence is my 9x gt. grandfather. The descent is from Thomas and his wife Patience Brewster, who was the d/o the Plymouth Colony’s religious leader, William Brewster. Therefore this line also outlines another Mayflower descent beginning with the Rev. Brewster.  This descent begins with:

  1. Mercy Prence (1631-1671) m. John Freeman (1627-1719). He was the s/o           Edmond and Bennett (Hodsall) Freeman.
  2. Edmond Freeman (1657-1717) m. Sarah Mayo (1660-1746). She was the d/o Samuel and Thomasine (Lumpkin) Mayo.
  3. Ruth Freeman (1680-1726) m. Israel Doane (1672-1740). He was the s/o Daniel and Constance (Snow) Doane.
  4. Edmond Doane (1718-1806) m. Elizabeth Osborne (1715-1798). She was the d/o Samuel and Jedidah (Smith) Osborne.
  5. Abigail Doane (1758-1847) m. Hezekiah Smith (1754-1834). He was the s/o Archelaus and Elizabeth (Nickerson) Smith.
  6. Stephen Smith (1786- 1870) m. Elizabeth Spinney (1789-1874). She was the d/o John and Susannah (Snow) Spinney.
  7. Rachel Smith (1823-1881) m. 2nd husband Samuel Scarr (1814-?).
  8. Mary Ellen Scarr (1853-1923)  m. Henry Gordon Carmichael (1850-1910).  He was the s/o Thompson and Barbarba (Hubley) Carmichael.
  9. Nora Edith Carmichael (1875-1921) m. Jesse Pye (1865-1940). He was the s/o John Charles Pye and Elizabeth Lacy. Nora and Jesse are my grandparents.

The Thomas Prence house (above) has since been demolished. The gravestone is for Mercy Prence Freeman.

There are literally thousands of Prence descendants today. To name a few of the more famous ones, the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, singer Bing Crosby, and former Gov. of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Prence descendants with documented lines are eligible for membership in:


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Winthrop Wednesdays

The Narrow Gauge

Imagine living on a peninsula with only two connections to the mainland. Imagine this peninsula becoming a summer resort, with hundreds of people wanting and needing to get to fresh air, sun, sand and ocean. At all the right moments in time, all the bright, creative minds decided Winthrop needed transportation. It was still the age of horse and buggy, but no one living in Winthrop could make the journey to Boston to work. Where would they park the buggies, where could all those horses be kept during work hours, how could they all jam back through two narrow land connections to get home? A railroad was a brilliant idea. There were already several small railroad lines, operating independently, in the areas surrounding Winthrop, and briefly, in Winthrop. One was the Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad, which originally by-passed Winthrop. Construction began and by 1888, the Winthrop loop was added to the BRB&L. This evolved into steam driven locomotives, more tracks being laid and eventually, an electrified system. In Winthrop, it was simply called the Narrow Gauge.

Winthrop began as farm land, but when lands were sold off and more people moved to the peninsula, little villages popped up in various locations. Eventually, it was all called Winthrop, but the names still survive, the Beach, The Highlands, Magee’s Corner, the Center, Cottage Hill, Point Shirley, etc. The railroad needed to serve all these areas, so there were 9 stations, strategically located on a sweeping loop through the town. As this developed, other important additions to the town were added. Winthrop is hilly in places. The streets conformed to the terrain forcing residents to walk up one street and down another to get to the train stations. This was very inconvenient in the winter weather. The problem was solved when the town put in a series of public stairs. How much easier it was to be able to use the stairs, cut through a whole block, maybe two in some cases, and find yourself within easy walking distance of a train station. The train took its passengers to the pier in East Boston, where they boarded a ferry to take them across the harbor to Rowe’s Wharf and to work in Boston. The return was completed in reverse for the trip home in the evening. 

 (In this picture, my grandfather is in the middle.)

This railroad played a vital role in the lives of Winthrop residents. Boston was only 6-8 miles away, but it could take over an hour to get there on surface roads. It gave people the opportunity to become more independent and economically sound. The town itself benefited from this, obviously. The Narrow Gauge played a significant part in helping Winthrop develop into a great place to live.

In my family, the Narrow Gauge was the backbone of my mother’s family. My Gt. Grandfather, Matthew Broderick*, an immigrant from Galway, Ireland, started out in Hyde Park MA. By the 1880 census for East Boston, his occupation was listed as section hand for the RR. In 1900, he was living in Lynn and had become a Section Master. His son, John, now 21 years old, my grandfather, was also working for the RR and held the job title of baggage master. As a section master, Matthew was responsible for getting the tracks laid through Winthrop Beach and into the Highlands. As the family story goes, he was well noted for his accuracy. John, while working on the trains going through Winthrop, met a resident, Alvina Chambers. They were soon married and took up residence on Locust St., just a short distance from the Ocean Spray Station. This is where my grandfather reported to work (no commuting for him!) each day. *(It is unknown if there is a family connection to the movie star of the same name.  That’s another journey!)

The Narrow Gauge Relief Association held annual concerts and balls at Crescent Gardens in Revere, often attended by numerous dignitaries. The 27th annual was chaired by John Broderick and many state and city officials were expected to attend. Special trains were scheduled to run at 2 AM, when the gala ended, to ensure people were able to return to their homes. The news clipping I have is not dated but through a process of elimination, I believe this event happened in 1925. There was no explanation of the meaning of ‘Relief’ as used by this association.

Then the inevitable happened. Cars, subways, buses all became a more convenient method of transportation. In January 1940, the railroad closed it’s doors forever.  Eight of the 9 stations were torn down, but one was recycled and is now a private residence in the Thornton Park area. For years there were still many traces of where the railroad had been. For me, the railroad came and went some time before I was born. But I grew up hearing the tales of the Narrow Gauge, how it impacted my grandmother as a young wife and mother, the influence it had on my mother, my aunt and my uncle while they grew up, and then there were the left over landmarks and how they influenced me. Sometimes, with a child’s imagination, I would stop and imagine a train going by. I could hear the whistle blow and I’d wave to my grandfather as it traveled on by.

Probably the last picture of my grandfather in his conductor's uniform. He's the one on the right.

Winthrop Then and Now – Winthrop Improvement and Historical Association

Ruth Broderick Pye’s scrapbook

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ralph Smith of Hingham and Eastham MA

Ralph Smith of Hingham and Eastham MA

It is said that a list did exist, in 1827 that gave names of some persons who came from the town of Hingham, the County of Norfolk, in the Kingdom of England and settled in Hingham, MA. It is believed they were there in 1633. Initially, Hingham was known as Bare Cove, apparently from the way the whole cove was exposed at low tide. But by 1635, the list of names of residents included the Hobarts: Edmond Sr., Edmond Jr., Joshua, Rev. Peter and Thomas. In addition, others mentioned were Ralph Smith and Richard Ibrook. For those who wish to see more detail about the history of early Hingham, I encourage people to use:

Eastham is a community located on the lower arm of Cape Cod. Think of the Cape as an outstretched arm that’s flexed at the elbow. The lower arm (elbow to wrist) extends from Chatham to Provincetown, which is the fist.  In 1644, the Plymouth directors had become dissatisfied and sought to find a new place for the center of their government. They sent a seven man delegation across the bay to the area of Eastham. It was decided not to move the center of government, but the seven men moved their families there and in 1651, Eastham was incorporated, by these men. Their main economy was agriculture, fishing and salt making. Today Eastham is known as the Gateway to the Cape Cod National Seashore and the location of First Encounter Beach, where the Pilgrims first met the Nauset Indians in 1620. It’s also noted for tourism but is a quieter location than some other Cape areas.

Those who came from Plymouth bore the names Doane, Snow, Cook, Higgins, Smalley and Bangs. Gov. Thomas Prence lived there as well. There doesn’t seem to be any record of why Ralph Smith and others left Hingham to take up residence in Eastham. But go, he did, sometime between 1652 and 1654. By May of 1655, he became a legal voter and in 1660 he became Town Constable.

*(1) Ralph Smith, after a few years in Hingham, took up residence in the new settlement at Eastham.  It is said he was b. 1610 in Hingham, Norfolk, Eng. He marr, 1638, Elizabeth Hobart, b. 1612, also in Hingham, Eng. She was the d/o Edmond and Margaret (Dewey) Hobart, also of Hingham, Eng. and Hingham, MA. They had at least 6 children:

          *(2)Samuel             Elizabeth                 John             Thomas
          Daniel                     Deborah 

*(2)Samuel - bap. Jul 11 1641, m. Jan.3 1666, Mary Hopkins, d/o Gyles and Catherine (Weldon) Hopkins. Gyles was the s/o of Mayflower passenger Stephen Hopkins. Samuel d. Mar 22, 1698 in Chatham, MA. Samuel engaged in whale and mackerel fishery, and then became a trader and inn keeper. He was Constable of Eastham in 1670. At one time he owned more than 1000 acres. His estate at the time of his death was valued at 1200 pounds, which included numerous head of cattle, sheep and horses.

          Samuel and Mary had children:

          Samuel                   Mary                       Joseph         *(3) John
          Grace                     Rebecca 

*(3)John Smith, b. May 26 1673, Eastham, MA, marr., Eastham, May 14 1694, Bethia Snow, b. Jul 1 1672, Eastham. Bethia Snow was the d/o Steven Snow and Susanna Deane and granddaughter of Nicholas Snow and Constance Hopkins. Constance was the d/o Stephen Hopkins and sister/o Gyles Hopkins, all Mayflower passengers. John and his wife, Bethia were 2nd cousins. John removed to Chatham around 1700, where he owned two farms, at Tom’s Neck,  inherited from his father. He became a very substantial citizen, was a selectman for one year and held other offices in town. He died around 1717 near the age of 45. Guardians were appointed for his six sons and three daughters. Completion of the settlement of his estate was not accomplished until Jul 31 1734.

John and Bethia had children:

          James                    Samuel                   Dean                      Mercy
          Mary                       John                       *(4) Stephen           Bethia
           David                      Seth 

*(4) Stephen Smith was b. Eastham c. 1706. He marr. (1) Hannah Collins bef. Dec, 18 1726, probably in Chatham. Hannah was b. Nov 2 1711, the d/o John and Hannah (Doane) Collins. Hannah d. bef. 1729. He marr. (2) Bathsheba Brown, Apr 9 1729. (Spellings vary: Bersheba, Bathsuah and Bathsheba.) Bathsheba was probably b. Eastham c. 1710. Stephen was elected Deacon of the Chatham Church on Sep 6 1749. Stephen, his wife Bathsheba and two of their unmarried daughters died in the 1766 smallpox epidemic, at Chatham and were buried together. Stephen d. Jan 13 1766 and Bathsheba d. Jan 16 1776. Their daughter Bathsheba, d. Jan 18 1766 and their youngest child, Betty, d. Feb 7, 1766.

Stephen and Hannah had one child:

          Stephen (who marr. Mehitable Eldridge and removed to Liverpool, NS)

Stephen and Bathsheba had children:

          James                     George                   *(5) Archelaus         Elijah
          Hannah                   Obadiah                  Bathsheba              Phebe
          James                    Betty 

*(5) Archelaus Smith was b. in Chatham, was bap. On Apr 3, 1734, unknown birth date. He marr. on Jul 16 1752 in Chatham, Elizabeth Nickerson, b. May 15 1735, Chatham. She was the d/o William and Sarah (Covell) Nickerson. They are considered to be one of the first English speaking families of Barrington, NS. In some sources he is called the Founder of Barrington. He had many skills that made him valuable to the success of the new community.

Archelaus and Elizabeth had children:

          Susannah               *(6) Hezekiah          Mercy                     Eunice
          James                    Stephen                  Archelaus, Jr .         Hannah

There is an interesting tale that is told of his wife Elizabeth:

Archelous Smith had sent for his family to come from Cape Cod to Barrington, but owing to evil reports about the Indians sent a message to the contrary. When, however, he was departing through West Passage, his wife and four children were coming in the East Passage in Capt. *Eldad Nickerson's vessel. Some fishermen, making fish at the Head, helped Mrs. Smith and made a log house for her and left her what provisions they could when they went away. He was storm-stayed and unable to get back that winter with food and his house frame. The Indians helped her at times and she fought off the bears with fire brands". Elizabeth Smith at her death left five children, 56 grandchildren, 297 great-grandchildren, 64 of the fifth, and one of the sixth generation living, exclusive of a daughter in the United States, who had a large family and of several grandchildren who had removed from Barrington, She ----     

            Enjoyed the power before she died,   

            Of saying what's to most denied,

            Rise daughter, to thy daughter run,

            Thy daughter's daughter has a son.

*Eldad was her uncle.

They moved to Cape Sable Island in 1773. Archelaus d. Apr 3, 1821 in Centerville, NS, Elizabeth d. Apr 2 1826.  In 1969, an historical society was formed on Cape Island, named The Archelaus Smith Branch of Cape Sable Historical Society located at Barrington. It maintains an Archelaus Smith Museum and has an interesting collection including pictures, diaries and other mementoes. 

Archelaus Smith Museum
Centreville, Clarks Harbour, NS B0W 1P0

*(6) Hezekiah Smith, b. 1754, Chatham, MA. He marr. in 1774, Abigail Doane, b. Apr 18, 1758, Eastham, MA. She was the d/o Edmond and Elizabeth (Osborne) Doane. His occupation is unknown. Hezekiah d. Feb 16, 1834, Cape Sable Island, NS. Abigail d. Jun 23 1847 in Centreville, NS.

Hezekiah and Abigail had children:

          Hezekiah, Jr.           John                       William          James
          *(7) Stephen           Hannah                   Israel            Abigail
          Edward                   Elizabeth                 Keziah          Charles

*(7) Stephen Smith, b. Oct 6 1786, Barrington, NS. He marr., Dec 1809, in Barrington, NS, Elizabeth Spinney, b. Dec 15 1789, Barrington, NS. She was the d/o John and Susannah (Snow) Spinney. Stephen d. Mar 28 1870 in Shelburne, NS and Elizabeth d. Apr 1874. In this marriage, Stephen Smith is a descendant of Stephen Hopkins through the Smith lines and his wife. Elizabeth Spinney is a Hopkins descendant through her mother Susannah Snow with lines going back to Constance Hopkins, wife of Nicholas Snow.

Stephen and Elizabeth had children:

          Abigail          Reliance                 Stephen        Elias
          Nathaniel     *(8) Rachel             Mary             Susannah
          Osborne Doane

*(8) Rachel Smith, b. Aug 14 1823, Cape Sable Island, NS, marr. Oct 1846 in NS (1) John Conrad Swansburg, b. Nov 1789, Shelburne, NS. He d. Nov 8 1850, Shelburne, NS. Rachel marr. (2) Samuel Scarr, Jan 15 1855 in Shelburne, NS. Little is known about Samuel other than he had been married before and he was a mariner. There seems to be no recorded death date for him. He may have been lost at sea. Rachel was listed as a widow in the 1881 Canadian census for NS.

Rachel and John Swansburg had children:

          Nathaniel                Elizabeth                 Harriet

Rachel and Samuel Scarr had children:

          *(9) Mary Ellen                  Samuel (died young)

*(9) Mary Ellen Scarr b. Sep 4 1853, Shelburne, NS, marr. Oct 12 1873 in Shelburne NS, Henry Gordon Carmichael, b. Jun 9 1850 in Fisher’s Grant,, Pictou, NS. Henry was a ship’s chandler. Mary Ellen d. Apr 30 1923, Newton, MA and Henry d. Apr 19 1910 in Everett, MA.

Mary Ellen and Henry had children:

          *(10) Nora               Ethel             Minnie          Percy
          Reginald                 Elizabeth       Grayce         Ruby

*(10) Nora Carmichael b. May 31 1875, Shelburne, NS, marr. Jun 23 1893 in Halifax NS, Jesse Pye b. Mar 11, 1865. Cape St. Charles, Labrador, Canada. They moved to East Boston, MA where Jesse worked in the ship yards. Nora and Jesse had 15 children, my father was the 8th in line. Nora d. Jun 4 1921 and Jesse d. Oct 30 1940 both in East Boston.  They are buried in Everett, MA.

In conclusion, this family line has been approved and accepted by The Mayflower Society. I feel greatly honored to be a Mayflower descendant and humbled to think of the journey, the hardships and the deprivation they endured to get here.

I have tried to be thorough and careful with names and dates. Any errors are entirely my own.

Mayflower Families Vol. 6 Hopkins