THE LONG ROAD HOME

For centuries genealogists have been studying the founding fathers and early settlers, and thousands of books, articles and “The Great Migration Project” have been published as a result. Fortunately for my family much of the research had already been done on my ancestors who were among the 20,000 English men, woman and children who crossed the Atlantic to settle in New England between 1620 and 1640.

My Lineage is:

John Irish “The Immigrant,” John Irish Jr., Jonathan Irish, Jesse Irish, Jonathan Irish, Mary Irish, James Skeggs, Sarah Skeggs, Edward Paul and me, Kathleen Paul.

“Genealogy leads to a better appreciation of history. Once we discover that we have ancestors living in a particular place at a particular time, the history of that place takes on a whole new meaning.”

PLEASE SCROLL DOWN AND READ THE LONG ROAD HOME SEPTEMBER 7,2014 AND OCTOBER 20,2015 FIRST BEFORE READING MORE RECENT UPDATES.

 

                                THE LONG ROAD HOME (Updates 10/31,11/24 &12/2/2015)

December 2, 2015 (My response to Mr. Lippincott’s email dated 11/24/15)

Re: Robert Taylor B1621 England

Dear Bert,

I have duly noted and updated my family research to reflect the findings of the Newport Historical Society. The information from Little Compton’s Historical Society on Taylor’s Point (Newport)found in the book “Little Compton Families” by Benjamin Franklin Wilbour and “The History of Rhode Island” by Edward Peterson  I will keep in my records as another source of information.

Sincerely, Kathleen Cortese

 

November 24, 2015 (In response to my email dated 10/31/15 from Newport’s Historical Society).

Dear Kathleen:

Thank you for your message about the Taylors and “Little Compton Families,” which contain many errors.

Taylor Point/Ochre Point in Newport was originally owned by Gov. William Brenton and granted to Thomas Brassie/Brace in 1641. It was known as Brace’s Farm and was sold by Godfrey Malbone to Robert Taylor after 1720. Robert Taylor (1688-1762) was a Scottish Merchant who bequeathed said property “which I purchased of Godfrey Malbone” to sons Joseph and Nicholas. Title to the property was contested by the sons in court for many years. It ultimately passed from Nicholas Taylor to the Wilbor Family to William Beach Lawrence in 1836.

(Newport Historical Magazine 2:234)

Sincerely,

Bert Lippincott (Reference Librarian, Newport Historical Society)

 

October 31, 2015 (My letter to Bert Lippincott)

Hi Bert,

Thank you for all the information you gave me regarding Edward Thurston B1617 England and Robert Taylor B1621 England.

Per your suggestion to follow the trail of Robert Taylor’s children we next visited Little Compton’s Historical Society and spoke to Marjorie Gomez O’Toole. She showed us a book called “Little Compton Families” from records compiled by Benjamin Franklin Wilbour. Attached is a photo I took of page 658 regarding Robert Taylor and his family.

Mr. Wilbour’s sources seem to be from Edward Peterson’s book “The History of Rhode Island” written in 1853. I would appreciate your thoughts on these findings. Could the merchant Mr. Taylor you mentioned who owned Taylor’s Point in 1740 have been related to Robert Taylor who lived in Newport in 1655?

I’m looking forward to hearing your opinion!

Thanks again for all your help, Kathleen Cortese

 

 

                          THE LONG ROAD HOME  (NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND) 

On October 20, 2015 my husband Bob and I went back to Newport, Rhode Island to further research my 7X great grandfathers Edward Thurston and Robert Taylor.  When Bob asked me where I wanted to go for our 40th wedding anniversary it was a no brainer for me and I immediately said Newport!

Last year my sister Marion, Bob and I  trekked through 5 states in 10 days tracing the places where my ancestors settled. However on that trip, I did not allot the time we needed to see all Newport, Rhode Island had to offer. Since then I’ve regretted not taking the world famous Cliff Walk or visiting Brenton Point State Park.

 

Brenton Point State Park BRENTON POINT STATE PARK

The park is named for Governor William Brenton (7XGreat Granduncle), one of the 18 founding fathers of Newport in 1639.

 

The_Breakers_Newport THE BREAKERS AT OCHRE POINT

Taylor’s Point was the land that Robert Taylor once owned (abt.1655). However it was not until returning home from our 1st trip that I discovered that the land once called Taylor’s Point is now called Ochre Point and is where the Vanderbilt Cottage called the “Breakers” is located!

(SEE DAY 4 OF OUR PREVIOUS TRIP TO NEWPORT.)

 

"VFMLID=35063986" THE JAILHOUSE INN

This visit we stayed for three days in the historical, Jailhouse Inn. The building was originally a prison, built for the city of Newport in 1772. It replaced an earlier jail built in 1680 on the same spot.  The first mention of a jail in Newport was in 1658 when it was decided that, “the prison building in Newport, was to be the prison for the whole colony.” Throughout New England in the 17th and 18th centuries, jails served as temporary holding facilities for prisoners passing through the criminal justice system. Robert Taylor was appointed Prison Keeper in 1673 by the General Assembly which Edward Thurston served on at that time as a Deputy of the Court.

 

Edward Thurston

HERE LYETH THE BODY OF EDWARD THURSTON WHO LIVED 90 YEARS AND DEPARTED THIS LIFE YE 28TH DAY OF FEBRUARY 1706. HE WAS BORN IN NEWPORT, CAMBRIDGESHIRE, ENGLAND IN 1617.

We found the Thurston Family grave plot located in the Quaker section in the southeast corner of the Coddington Cemetery. The cemetery is located around the corner from the White Horse Tavern on Farewell Street.

 

ri-newport-white-horse-43 THE WHITE HORSE TAVERN

The White Horse Tavern (EST. 1673) is located directly across the street from the Jailhouse Inn. It is the oldest tavern in America and for almost 100 years before the Colony House in Newport, R.I. was constructed it was the meeting place of the Colony’s General Assembly, Criminal Court and City Council.

Bob and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in this large comfortable tavern and besides the history the food was wonderful. It was so exciting for me to imagine my two 7X great grandfathers conducting business in this same room some 342 years before! And because the tavern is rumored to be haunted I asked myself… “Are Edward Thurston and Robert Taylor lurking close by, and watching me?” So just in case I sat there silently and acknowledged their bravery and my thanks for all they contributed to Colonial America!

 

 

 

 

                                                    THE LONG ROAD HOME

On September 7, 2014 my sister, Marion (Paul) Trafton and I set out on a journey determined to track the migration pattern of John Irish “The Immigrant” and his descendants through the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York and Connecticut. Our aggressive plan to accomplish this feat in 10 days would have been near to impossible without the driving skills and patience of my husband, Bob Cortese.  Kathleen (Paul) Cortese

 

JOHN IRISH B1611 ENGLAND 

Day 1 – PLYMOUTH COLONY

Plymouth Harbor 2 Plymouth Harbor 

Plymouth, Massachusetts was the first stop on our driving tour and we arrived there around noon. As I stood at the waterfront wharf at Plymouth Harbor, I felt like I was looking out at a painting by Monet. I stared out at the blue skies and puffy white clouds over the sheltered cove, and tried to conjure in my mind’s eye what eighteen-year-old, John Irish saw looking at this same water view 385 years before me.  While still in England, and by pure happenstance John met one of the Merchant Adventurers who helped finance the original Mayflower voyage to America.  I can only assume that when John signed on to be Mr. Hatherly’s  indentured servant, the risk-taking young man was leaving his homeland and all that he knew for adventure and prosperity in the new world. The Contract read:

John Irish of the Parish of Clevedon in Somerset, England, laborer agreed with Timothy Hatherly a felt maker from the London area of England to abide with him for five years at the Plymouth Colony having meat, drink and lodging and five pounds per year and at the end of that time to receive 12 bushels of wheat, corn and 25 acres of land.

When John arrived in 1629, the small farming and maritime village that was built by the Pilgrims was only 9 years old. At that time, approximately 32 families and 20 single young men inhabited the settlement that was known as “Plymouth Plantation.” These men and woman called themselves Planters and farmed 150 acres of mostly corn that the Indians taught them to grow. Per the terms of the Planter’s contract with their financial backers in London the passengers of the Mayflower were required to live together in a tight community for seven years. By the time our 7X great grandfather, John arrived in the new world the original pilgrims had satisfied the terms of their agreement and had been allotted land along the coast to farm. Thus the coastline was parceled out and many settlers began moving away from Plymouth. It is more than likely, that one of John’s duties as an indentured servant was to help Myles Standish and the others clear the land and build homes on their newly acquired homesteads.

MAYFLOWER II

Replica Mayflower Marion - Mayflower - Plymouth Marion Bob relaxing in Plymouth Bob

We visited the Mayflower II anchored in Plymouth Harbor, the exact replica of the original ship, and then went to see Plymouth Rock. Afterwards we decided to walk to the historic district of town. So we crossed the street walked up a short hill, turned the corner and by pure accident entered the Edward Winslow House. He was a direct descendant of the Pilgrim, Edward Winslow who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620.

The Edward Winslow House was purchased by the Mayflower Society in 1941. As luck would have it on entering the house we learned that the descendants of the Mayflower were having a reunion (this only happens every three years.) When Bob mentioned that we were the ancestors of an early settler, we were invited to a garden party luncheon that was about to start.  Talk about being in the right place at the right time! What an experience!

So much to do and just not enough time to see everything! If we wanted to keep to our schedule the allotted time for Plymouth was up and the next morning we would be leaving for Duxbury the coastal town that is located 10 miles north of Plymouth, MA. This is the town where John Irish “The Immigrant” claimed his 25 acres of land upon completion of his debt to Mr. Hatherly.

 

Day 2 – DUXBURY, MASSACHUSETTS

Duxbury_Beach,_Duxbury_MA Duxbury Shore Line

Duxbury is a quaint, woodsy town with a beautiful shore line. At the town’s library we were given much to read on the early settlers of Duxbury and then directed to visit the Duxbury Historical Society, which was located a short distance away. My sister and I felt so fortunate upon entering the Historical Society because once again we happened to be in the right place at the right time. The town “Archivist” was sitting at her desk when we walked in and seemed more than happy to give us her undivided attention. When it came to the early settlers of Duxbury, she was a wealth of knowledge and was well aware of who John Irish was. She told us that Duxbury was founded in 1637 and named by Myles Standish and settled by him and John Alden sometime earlier. These two influential men who arrived on the Mayflower received their land grants in Duxbury and became the town’s first leaders. We learned that those that settled in Duxbury came to work their farms in the warmer months and returned to Plymouth during the winter. Captain Myles Standish the military leader of the colony lived in the “Nook” in an area known as Standish Shores and John Alden lived on Alden Street. John Alden’s House is now a museum and was the site of many important meetings of the colony’s leaders. We were shown an historical sketch of Duxbury with a key that listed the original site and owners names. With this map in hand, we next went to locate lot#82

IRISH ORCHARD

tnB6MQK99R  (Lot#82)

The land where John Irish once lived in Duxbury is located on the southeast corner of Tremont and St. George Streets and backed up to Alden Street and “The John Alden House.” On lot# 82 a house was either being built or under renovation however I was not deterred from my desire to stand on the land that my 7X great, grandfather once owned. I was so excited that I left Marion and Bob waiting in the car while I climbed the hill to gaze into the woods that had once been called “Irish Orchard.” What I didn’t know was that, at that exact moment, the current owner of the property was asking my husband why he was stopped at the side of the road. Bob tried to explain that the property was once owned by an ancestor and that his wife was somewhere on the property taking pictures. After the man got his answer he said, “I could’ve shot her for trespassing!” Later I asked the man, “You wouldn’t have really shot me?” and he answered,  If you’d looked sleazy I would’ve at least thrown you to the ground and handcuffed you!” Thank goodness he saw Bob and Marion before he saw me because this time I was almost in the wrong place at the wrong time!

John Irish also owned lot#78 located west of the swamp in front of the Duxbury Depot and Bumpass Pasture. This land John later gave to John Alden and could be the reason his son, John Jr. felt he was “wronged and abused” about his father’s land in Duxbury. The deaths of John Irish and his wife Elizabeth Risley are not listed in the vital records of Duxbury. It is believed that they are buried in the “Old Burying Ground” often called the Standish Burying Ground.” Their unmarked graves are believed to be located in the southwest quadrant between George Soule and John Alden. However it’s possible that they are buried on their lot# 82, their grave markers having since been lost. It is curious to me why John Irish claimed his 25 acres in Duxbury (abt. 1634) instead of Scituate, Massachusetts where his benefactor, Mr. Hatherly settled.

We only spent the day in Duxbury and later drove to our next destination and spent the next two nights on a rural farm in Little Compton, Rhode Island. By the time we got to Little Compton it was late in the day so after settling into our 3 room cottage a few miles from the beach, we drove to the water and then went to dinner at Crowther’s Pub. We chose to eat at this countryside restaurant because it was close to the Brady Cottage were we were staying. However it turned out to be a wise choice because the countrified food was one of the best meals we had on our trip!

JOHN IRISH JR. (6XGGF) B1641 DUXBURY, PLYMOUTH COLONY

Day 3 – SAKONNET/LITTLE COMPTON, RHODE ISLAND

John Irish Jr. Farm lot#16   John Irish Jr. Farm – Lot#16 today

We woke up the next morning to the mooing of cows out our back window and the other animal sounds of a working farm. We then went into the quaint village of Little Compton which is known as the “Town Common” and listed on the National Register of Historical Places. We had breakfast on the common at a small luncheonette which is located right next door to the “Wilbur General Store.”  The Wilbur (Wilbore) name like the Irish name is a very well known in Little Compton. John Irish Jr.’s youngest son John III married Thankful Wilbore , daughter to Samuel Wilbore and his great grandson, Jonathan Irish married Deborah Wilbur (Our 3X great grandparents and 1st DNA connection.)  After breakfast we went to the Brownell Library which was on the other side a few doors down from the luncheonette,. In one of the books that we were shown on John Irish, my sister found a record of his descendant’s names and we were both very excited to see that our 2X paternal great grandparents, Mary Irish and William Skeggs were among the names listed. Although we already knew that Mary Irish (B1797 in Peru, New York) was the descendant of John Irish “The Immigrant,” it was still nice for us to see proof of it in print.

John Irish Jr. figures prominently in Little Compton’s early history as he was the town’s second settler. He was born in Duxbury, Plymouth Colony in 1641 and as a teenager worked for Myles Standish. John Jr. married Elizabeth Thurston in 1672  and became the Constable of Middleborough in the Plymouth Colony that same year. In 1675, a carpenter by trade, John Jr. built a 16’X16′  two floor log cabin on West Main Road in Sakonnet/Little Compton, Rhode Island. He had been deeded this property that backed up to the river by his father, who had been awarded the frontier land for his bravery during the Pequot War. The style of the home is called a Stone Ender because of the large stone chimney that covered one wall of the two-floor house. John Jr. did not move his wife and four children to Little Compton until after the King Philip’s War (1676-1678.)

I can’t tell you how exciting it was for my sister, Marion and I to find the farm where John Irish Jr. and his wife, Elizabeth Thurston lived and raised their twelve children (4 boys & 8 girls.)  A large stone chimney still anchors the house, but many additions have been added over the centuries. The still working farm stands on the bank of the Sakonnet River directly across the road from the still standing Quaker Meeting House that was built in 1700.

John Irish Jr. House built 1675  The square section with chimney built 1675

When John Irish Jr. died in 1717 he bequeathed  lot#16 with the farm house to his eldest son, David. To son, Jonathan he left 30 acres of lot# 17  and the rest to his son, John III who married Thankful Wilbur. To son, Jedediah he left his land in Middlebourough/Taunton. At that time Middleborough and Taunton were one in the same town. The Tombstones of John Jr. and Elizabeth can still be seen in the little plum thicket in the northeast corner of their old farm.

 

JONATHAN IRISH (5XGGF) B1678 SAKONNET/LITTLE COMPTON, RHODE ISLAND

Lot#17 Little Compton   Lot#17

Jonathan was the second oldest son of John Jr. and Elizabeth Thurston. He was the first of their children to be born in Sakonnet/Little Compton, and raised with his siblings born before and after him in the house that his father built. In 1702, the 24 year-old, Jonathan married *Mary Taylor and they would go on to have 7 children (2 boys, Samuel & Jesse & 5 girls) all born in Little Compton. Mary Taylor was born in 1682 in Sakonnet,  the same year the name of the town was officially changed to Little Compton. When John Jr. died , Jonathan was bequeathed his father’s land on the west end of lot# 17 at the water side and east to the brook where the spring is.

*JOHN TAYLOR (6X GGF) Mary’s father was born in Newport in 1657/58. He married Abigail (?) in Little Compton in 1681 and they had seven children. It appears that John Taylor was a man of wealth and left a good bit of money to his children and grandchildren when he died in Little Compton in 1747. This was the same year that Little Compton became part of Rhode Island.

 

Quaker Meeting House - Little Compton Quaker Meeting House – built around 1700 is located across the road from the Irish Farm.

We searched the small Friend’s Cemetery located at the rear of the meeting house for the tombstones of Jonathan Irish and Mary Taylor unfortunately, the old grave markers were not legible.

 

SAMUEL WILBUR HOUSE

Wilbor House 1690 Home of the Little Compton Historical Society

We had a 3 p.m. appointment at the historical society which was built 1690 – 1692 by Samuel Wilbur Sr. (5XGGU) who was the brother to Benjamin Wibore (5XGGF.) We learned from the town’s historian the story of Goosewing Farm. Originally the property was part of a much larger tract of land purchased by a group of Plymouth Colonists called Proprietors. The Proprietors worked to purchase Sakonnet (renamed Little Compton) from the Sakonnet Indians and the large tract of land was divided into twenty-three 30 acre lots. In April of 1678 a lottery was held to divide the land between 25 men. As a result of the lottery lot#8 was awarded to John Cushin and lot#9 to John Irish Jr. At some point lot#8 was traded to HENRY HEAD (6XGGF) who also purchased in 1708 lot# 9 from John Irish Jr. (6XGGF.)

This land became known as GOOSEWING FARM and is located near the ocean on what is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Rhode Island. Today Goosewing Farm looks very similar to how it looked once upon a time when Henry Head owned it. The Brady Cottage where we were staying is close by. The two mornings we were at the cottage, Bob jogged the 2 miles to Goosewing Beach and back.

GOOSEWING FARM

Goosewing Farm Then

Sisson Farm - Goosewing Farm today Now

Goosewing Beach in Little Compton - one of the best beaches in R.I. Goosewing Beach

I’m still searching to find a record of Henry Head’s arrival to America. I know he was born on the 23rd of September 1647 in England. He married Elizabeth Ketchum/Lovett in 1677 and lived in Portsmouth in 1682. In 1683 he was “deputy” Representative to Plymouth Colony and living in Little Compton. In 1692 he was involved in the Almay Tax Revolt and in 1693 he was imprisoned in Boston until he paid a fine of 150 pounds.  Henry Head is our Presidential link to Franklin Delano Roosevelt through his daughters, Innocent Head and Elizabeth Head (5XGGM.)

HEAD LOT

Head Lot - dist#9 Maple Avenue, Little Compton Graveyard on Maple Avenue is one of 57 historic cemeteries in Little Compton

When Henry Head passed away in 1717 he left his children a generous inheritance that included his own farm, silver, bills of credit, bonds, thirty-two head of cattle and four slaves. Goosewing Farm was left to his son Henry Jr. and the property stayed in the family until 1812 when Henry Head Jr.’s great grandson sold it.

DAY 4 – PORTSMOUTH AND NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

The next morning we sadly left Little Compton and headed for Newport, Rhode Island where John Irish Jr.’s wife, Elizabeth Thurston was born. On the way we stopped in Portsmouth to see where her mother,  Elizabeth Mott and grandfather, Adam Mott lived.

Portrait painting of Adam Mott (8XGGF) ADAM MOTT (8XGGF) A tailor by trade arrived from England in 1635 with his young children, and second wife. However he did not settle in Portsmouth until 1638, after he was run out of Hingham, Massachusetts. He is believed to be one of a group of religious dissenters from the Boston Colony, including Dr. John Clarke, William Coddington and Anne Hutchinson.  In 1640 Adam and others were chosen to lay out land in Portsmouth. He became a freeman in 1641 and in 1642 was clerk of the military company. His father, “Ould” Adam Mott, as he was called by the town’s people, was a well respected member of the community because the courts always made sure he was taken care of. Adam Mott is buried in the Friend’s Graveyard in Portsmouth and I assume so is his father, “Ould” Adam Mott.

Portsmouth Friends Churchyard - Portsmouth, Rhode Island Friend’s Graveyard, Portsmouth, Rhode Island

 

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

Newport Wharf Fisherman’s Wharf

After leaving Portsmouth, Massachusetts we went to Newport, Rhode Island to see where Elizabeth Thurston’s father settled, and also to see where her son, Jonathan Irish’s wife, Mary Taylor’s father (John Taylor) was born. We drove into Newport’s bustling downtown area with it’s hundreds of shops and luckily parked right next to the landmark, Brick Market. The Building which is now home to the Museum of Newport’s history is not far from Newport’s Fisherman’s Wharf.

EDWARD THURSTON (7XGGF) was born in Newport, England in 1617 and arrived to the new world in 1647, and married Elizabeth Mott that same year. They settled in Newport and raised 12 children. His name was listed third on a list of members of the Society of Friends in Newport. The Quakers came to Newport in the late 1650’s and flourished and grew by 1700. Edward was a Commissioner and served as Deputy to the Court for many years. He died in Newport in 1706 at age 89.

ROBERT TAYLOR (7XGGF) Mary Taylor’s grandfather came to the New World as an indentured servant in 1646. That same year he was listed as a rope maker and living in Scituate, in the Plymouth Colony. He married Mary Hodges and they had 7 children while living in Scituate and 4 more after they moved to Newport abt. 1655. Mary’s father John Taylor being one of the children born in Newport and later moved to Little Compton. In 1673 Robert Taylor was appointed to Newport’s General Assembly to be Prison Keeper. He owned a farm in Newport at TAYLOR’S POINT and land at SACHUEST MEADOW in Little Compton.

 OCHRE POINT

Ochre Pont Once called Taylor Point

*There is a point of land there once called “Taylor Point,” but today is called “Ochre Point,” located between Shepard and Ruggles Avenues. The Taylor farm was located there from the time of the setting of the land and Robert Taylor died there in 1688 at age 67.

  • Information obtained from “Little Compton families” from records compiled by Benjamin Franklin Wilbour and “The History of Rhode island” (pg. 59) written in 1853 by Edward Peterson.

OCHRE POINT (Upper left corner)

Cliff Walk Newport, Rhode Island  The Cliff Walk passes 64 private properties

Unfortunately, we had no time to take the world famous Cliff Walk along the eastern shore however we did drive the 3-1/2 mile route that passed some of the grandest Newport Summer Cottages.I would have to say that Newport is one of the most beautiful places on earth! The natural beauty of the shore line combined with the architectural history of the “Gilded Age,” a must site to see. And to think that our 7x great grandfather, Robert Taylor owned the land at Ochre Point (once called Taylor Point) some 200+ years before the rich and famous began building their mansions in this ideal location!  I really can’t wait to go back to not only take the cliff walk, but also to find the land that Edward Thurston owned and to learn more about the early settlers of Newport that included William Brenton (7XGGM, Catherine Brenton’s brother.) In 1666 he succeeded Benedict Arnold as governor of Rhode Island. SEE FOUNDING FATHERS

Brenton Point State Park Brenton Point State Park named after Governor, William Brenton

 

DAY 5 -MENDON, MASSACHUSETTS

DETOUR – BACK TO MASSACHUSETTS – We’ll pick up Jesse Irish’s trail in Danby, Vermont on DAY 7. Today instead of tracking Jesse Irish’s migration to Westerly, Rhode Island, Nine Partners, New York and Danby Vermont we took a detour to visit the town’s in Massachusetts where Jesse’s wife, Mary Albee’s family came from.  We were very anxious to see Mendon, Massachusetts the 2nd town to be attacked by the Indian’s during the King Philip War in 1676.

Mill River Mill River – Mendon, Massachusetts

BENJAMIN ALBEE (7XGGF) Mary Albee’s grandfather after arriving to America lived in Braintree, Massachusetts before moving to Medfield and then later to Mendon where he built a Grist Mill on the Mill River. On the 14th of July in 1677,  his oldest son, John was killed when the Indians launched a surprise attack on the settlement, burning many of the buildings to the ground. Benjamin fled with his family, 15 miles eastward back to Medfield, never to return to the town he helped build. SEE SHORT STORIES – THE KING PHILIP’S WAR.

JAMES ALBEE (6XGGF) Mary Albee’s father was born in Medfield, MA in 1645 his parents were Benjamin Albee and Hannah Miller . He married Hannah Cook  the daughter of *Walter Cook and Catherine Brenton (sister of R.I.’s Governor Wm. Brenton) After the King Philip’s war ended he returned to Mendon to claim his family’s property and to rebuilt his father’s mill.  He became a large land holder and man of social influence. James spent the rest of his life living in Mendon and died there in 1717 at age 72. He is the 6XGGF to William Howard Taft (SEE PRESIDENTIAL LINKS.)

 FOUNDIN FATHERS – MENDON, MASSACHUSETTS

Mendon FF  Included are the names of 7x great granddfathers Ferdinando Thayer, *Walter Cook and Benjamin Albee.

  Mendom First Meeting House The town of Mendon, Massachusetts was destroyed by the Indians in 1676.

 We also toured Medfield, Braintree, Weymouth and Scituate, Massachusetts to see the towns where other ancestors lived.

 

DAY 6  GLOUCESTER, ROCKPORT and SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS

Gloucester is a breathtaking, beautiful city on Cape Ann in Massachusetts on the North Shore. The boundaries of Gloucester originally included the town of Rockport. It was one of the first Englsh settlements in what would become the Massachusetts Bay Colony and predates both Salem in 1626 and Boston in 1630. When we got to Gloucester we first drove into picturesque, Stage Fort Park where the pioneers first settled and currently houses the Gloucester Information Center.

Gloucester - Stage Fort Park Stage Fort Park

With a town map in hand we headed for the harbor and center of town called the Town Green area on our quest to find ISABEL BABSON(8XGGM.)

Gloucester Wharf   Gloucester Harbor

On our way we passed the Fisherman’s Memorial with the many names listed of our BABSON ancestors, who lost their lives at sea.

Gloucester Memorial - Lost at Sea Fisherman’s Memorial

In 1637, ISABEL BABSON a widow came to New England with her sons, Richard and James and settled in Salem her port of debarkation. In 1642 she left Salem abruptly and moved to Gloucester where she was greatly respected as a nurse and midwife. This was the same year Gloucester was incorporated  and Isabel purchased land on what is now known as 75-77 Front Street, ownership continued in the family for about a century and a half. Her dwelling on Main street is where she lived in a little log cabin and is now the home of the Isabel Babson Memorial Library. As a tribute to the memory of the honored and beloved citizen of Gloucester,  Roger Ward Babson established the library which specializes in books for expectant mothers. She is also remembered through the Isabel Babson Maternity Wing at Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester.

ISABEL BABSON LIBRARY

Isabel Babson - Memorial Library  69 Main Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts

This library was founded in 1961 by *ROGER WARD BABSON for his 6XGGM. I can’t begin to describe the feeling of excitement that came over my sister and I after we told the librarian (Carol Salzman) that Isabel Babson was our 8XGGM too! The very helpful woman got on the phone and called Allan Brackett a man who once worked for Roger Babson and announced to him the “The Babson Family is here!”

Roger Ward Babson Roger Ward Babson (1875-1967)

Roger believed that conceiving and rearing children, as well as the health and well-being of women, were critical to a stable society. He was a Statistician, Entrepreneur, Educator, Economist, Philanthropist, Business Theorist, Prohibition Candidate for President of the United States in 1940. Author of many books on business and religion; famed for predicting the 1929 stock market crash. He founded Babson Institute (now Babson College) in Wellsley, Massachusetts, Webber College (Now Weber International University) in Babson Park, Florida and Utopia College (now defunct,) in Eurecka, Kansas. I am very honored to know that a man so accomplished as Roger Ward Babson is my 6X Cousin 1X Removed!

 

JAMES BABSON (7xGGF) 

COOPERAGE – ROCKPORT, MASSACHUSETS

James Babson - Museum       This stone shop was the 1st factory in Cape Ann

After we left Gloucester we traveled north to Rockport to see where Isabel’s son, our 7XGGF, JAMES BABSON lived. In 1637, at age 15 James came to New England with his mother Isabel. Five years later, in 1642, they moved to Gloucester.  In 1647 he married Elinor Hill then, “In 1658, James was granted 12 acres of fresh meadow (at Beaver Dam) above the mill and 20 acres of upland lying by the side of it.” James a “Cooper” made barrels that were taken to Good Harbor Beach, filled with fish, and shipped to England and the West Indies.

JAMES BABSON FARM – ROCKPORT, MASSACHUSETTS

James Babson Farm

This is where James and his wife, Elinor Hill settled and raised their ten children. We as well as Roger Ward Babson are descendants from James and Elinor (Hill) Babson’s son, JOHN BABSON B1660 – D 1737.

SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS

Salem, Massachusetts Coast line Salem coastline

I must admit that we didn’t go to Salem to see its beautiful coastline, rather we went to visit the Salem Witch Museum because we had from Gloucester an ancestor who was ACCUSED of being a witch and two who were ACCUSSERS!

SALEM WITCH MUSEUM

Salem Witch Museum    

The Salem Witchcraft crisis of 1692 started in Salem Village however other towns in Essex County also experienced witchcraft  allegations. One of these towns was Gloucester which at the time was still an isolated farming community. Remember our ISABEL BABSON had gone to Gloucester after she was run out of Salem 50 years earlier, accused of being a witch for practicing midwifery. Now her grandson, EBENEZER BABSON on behalf of his mother widow, ELINOR (HILL) BABSON (7XGGM) was ACCUSING two woman of being witches, MARGARET PRINCE and ELIZABETH DICER. Ebenezer had been involved in odd hysteria over phantom Indian and French soldiers that had gripped Gloucester the preceding summer. SEE SHORT STORIES – BEAR SKIN NECK By Roger W. Babson

ESTHER (DUTCH) ELWELL was ACCUSED of being a witch and a warrant for her arrest was issued and she was put in the Ipswich jail.  Esther (Hester) was married to SAMUEL ELWELL son to our 7XGGF ROBERT ELWELL.  Robert Elwell is the great grandfather we have in common with Sarah Jessica Parker the actress.

When the witch hunt of 1692 began  no one was safe from being accused and 20 innocent victims were put to death.

 

DAY 7  – JESSE IRISH (4XGGF) B1712 LITTLE COMPTON, RHODE ISLAND

Vermont Danby ,Vermont

JESSE IRISH was born in Little Compton, Rhode Island and he was the second of two sons born to Jonathan Irish and Mary Taylor. When Jonathan died he handed down his farm (lot#17) in Little Compton to his eldest son, Samuel. To his other son, Jesse who by that time had married Mary Albee and was living in Westerly, Rhode Island he left 15 shillings.  Not long after his father’s death, Jesse moved his wife and children to Nine Partners, New York before finally settling in Danby, Vermont. The original settlement of Danby was conceived and adopted by 68 residents of Nine Partners, New York on the 27th of August 1761, and although some of Jesse’s older sons preceded him he did not settle on a farm (called Nine Partners) in Danby until 1768. It is widely reported that Jesse had 7 sons however I think historians have accidently not counted his 8th son, Stephen Irish. Jesse’s children born in Westerly, R.I. were Susannah 1734 and David 1735.  In Nine Partners, N.Y. the children born there were William 1737, Jesse 1739, Mary 1741, Peter 1743, *John 1745, Hannah 1747, Jonathan 1749, Sarah 1751, Abel 1753, Martha 1756 and his youngest son Stephen in 1759.  A total of 8 sons and 5 daughters.

It was a Saturday, around midday when we pulled up to the library on the main street in Danby, Vermont and to our dismay found out it had just closed. As luck would have it, a woman was standing in the driveway next door and directed us to Depot Street where the town’s historian lives.  Georgia LaBatt graciously invited us into her home and proved to know a great deal about the history of Danby.  From Georgia I was able to obtain helpful information and a copy of “The History and Map of Danby” by J.C. Williams. I recently got a letter from Georgia who is continuing  to help us find more information on Jesse Irish and his family’s life in Danby, Vermont.

Danby - Georgia LaBatt On our journey throughout the states of New England and New York we came across many helpful individuals, but I have to say that Georgia LaBatt was absolutely my favorite! Georgia’s passion for keeping family and Danby’s history alive is very much appreciated by me, and I’m sure everyone else she helps. Thank you, thank you Georgia for your love of History!! *SEE SHORT STORIES – THE MURDER OF JOHN IRISH 1777

 

DAY 8 – JONATHAN IRISH (3XGGF) B1749 NINE PARTNERS, NEW YORK 

Peru - Quaker Cemetery Peru, New York – Quaker Cemetery

JONATHAN IRISH  was born in Nine Partners, New York the 9th child of Jesse Irish and Mary Albee . In 1774 at age 25 he moved with his family to Danby, Vermont, and married Deborah Wilbur that same year. The revolutionary War began on the 19th of April 1775 and Jonathan as a Quaker tried to remain neutral however because he and his brothers refused to take up arms against the King of England they were suspected of being Tories.  Jonathan and Deborah’s children born in Danby were Israel 1774, Milly 1776, Sam 1777, George 1778, Rachel 1780, Susannah 1780, Abel 1784, Martha 1791 and Wilbur 1793. It’s believed that most of the land in Danby that was owned by the Irish Family was confiscated after the war and around 1793 Jonathan moved his family to Peru, New York. His children born in Peru were Jonathan Jr. 1794, Hannah 1795 and Mary Irish 1797.  Jonathan Irish died in Peru in 1832 at age 83. After his death Deborah Wilbur moved back to Danby Vermont, where she died in 1847 at age 91.

On the morning of September 15th we met our niece, Diane Buckley’s sons, Bobby and Michael who live near Lake Placid, New York. They are very familiar with the area, and took us to the Quaker Cemetery in the Keeseville section of the town of Peru, New York. Since many of the oldest  headstones are illegible we were unable to locate the grave of Jonathan Irish however

Peru Quaker Cemetery - Bobby   Bobby did find the grave of Jonathan Irish’s son, George’s 3rd wife Elizabeth Keese.

Peru - Michael & Marion Marion and Michael reading Elizabeth Keese headstone

My niece, Diane (Paul) Buckley will continue our family’s search in Peru for Quaker birth, death marriage records etc. for the “Irish Family.” Hopefully she will find the location of Jonathan Irish’s Farm, and obtain information on the Quaker Union Settlement (those Quakers who came to Peru, New York from Danby Vermont.) STAY TUNED

MARY IRISH (2XGGM) B1797 PERU, NEW YORK 

Collins, New York COLLINS, NEW YORK

By all rights our next stop should have been Collins, New York, but since it was a 6-1/2 hour ride from Peru, New York we decided to forgo the drive since Bob and I had visited Collins once before. In September of 2003 on a car trip to Niagara Falls we stopped on a fact finding mission to find the parentage of my father’s grandfather, JAMES SKEGGS born in New York. When James was born in 1828 MARY IRISH and WILLIAM SKEGGS were the only family in the whole state of New York with the last name of Skeggs. At the time of our visit I accumulated much information on the Skeggs family from Collins, New York however I came away not being able to prove that our James Skeggs was their son! However since then DNA has proven what I otherwise couldn’t prove, Mary Irish is indeed the mother of James Skggs!

5 record sources say that Mary Irish was born in Vermont however I think that these records are mixed up with her sister Martha who was born in Danby, Vermont in 1791. I now believe, but still have not confirmed that Mary was born in Peru, New York in 1797.  Mary married William Skeggs in Peru in 1814 and their children Elizabeth and Hester were born there. In 1821 they migrated from Peru with Mary’s brothers Abel, Wilber and sister Martha (Irish) Southwick and other Quaker family members (from Danby, Vermont) to COLLINS, NEW YORK. SEE ABOUT ME – FOR MORE INFORMATION

 

Day 9 – JAMES SKEGGS (GGF) B1828 COLLINS, NEW YORK 

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT

Hartford, Connecticut - Capital Building Capitol Building in Hartford, Connecticut 

Built on the original land granted to Richard Risley (7XGGU) brother to (7XGGM) Elizabeth Risley (wife of John Irish the Immigrant).

JAMES SKEGGS is the paternal great, grandfather who my sister and I have been looking for over twenty years. We had just about given up any hope of ever finding his parents when DNA matched us to his maternal grandmother, Deborah Wilbur. James was born in Collins, New York in 1828 and his parents were Mary Irish and William Skeggs. I believe around 1849, twenty-two year old James went to live with relatives in Hartford, Connecticut, possibly to learn a trade. By the time James appears in the 1850 Connecticut Census his parents still living in Collins, New York were aging and his brother, George was running the family farm. It is not known if James Skeggs met Rachel Dugan (recently off the boat from Ireland) in Connecticut or in New York City.

Hartford, Connecticut was the last stop on our journey to trace the migration pattern of our father Edward Paul’s maternal side of his family.

SIDE NOTE: What is further known about James Skeggs and Rachel Dugan is that they married in the early 1850’s and had their 5 children William, Jane, Samuel, James and Sarah Skeggs after they moved New York City (abt.1851.) My father was one of Sarah Skeggs and Henry Paul’s 11 children. From the time of James Skeggs’ arrival, his descendants stayed living in New York City for almost 100 years before my father, Edward Paul (SEE BOOKS – FORGOTTEN HERO) moved his family to Teaneck, New Jersey in 1949.

Day 10 –  HOME TO NEW JERSEY

 

 GENERAL INFORMATION

Duxbury Historical Society

P.O. Box 2865

147 St. George Street

Duxbury, Massachusetts 02331

Carolyn Ravenscroft, Archivist

7811-934-1382

cravenscroft@duxburyhistory.org 

 

Little Compton Historical Society

548 West Main Road

P.O. Box 577

Little Compton, Rhode island 02837

Marjory Gomez O’Toole

401-635-4035

email: lchistory@yahoo.com

www.littlecompton.org

 

Newport HistoricalSociety

Brick Market Museum & Shop

127 Thames St.

Newport, Rhode Island 02840

Bert Lippincott

401 846 0813

 

Isabel  Babson Library

69 Main Street

Gloucester, Massachusetts

Carol Salzman, Librarian

 

Danby Town Historian

Georgia LaBatt

83 Depot Street

Danby, Vermont 05739

email:

 

Peru Town Historian

Ron & Carol Allen

518-561-0038

Peru Town Clerk

Kathleen K. Flynn

518-643-2745 ext. 2

 

Irvine J. Gaffney

Town of Collins Historian

2274 Orchard Place

P. O. Box 126

Collins, New York 14034

716 532-5380

 

 

 

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