Mother’s day (redux)

Re-posting a post I did a couple of years ago.

I am lucky to have these photos and drawings of the mothers who came before me.

Hannah Shepard Merrill
Lorinda Hubbard Walbridge
Sarah Ann Walbridge Merrill
Frankie Davis Merrill
Sadie Merrill Smith
Iris Smith Barcomb

Caroline Daignault Tourville
Nancy Tourville LaStraw
Felicite Jodoin Barcomb
Rose Lastraw Barcomb

Mary Holt Smith
Josephine Ayer Smith
Josephine Ayer Smith
Sadie Merrill Smith
Iris Smith Barcomb
Iris Smith Barcomb

Week 12 – Popular

It’s been almost two years since I found the time to write here. Well, it really isn’t about time; it’s inclination to write something. I have been doing the research, working hard at my job, and keeping up with some hobbies.

The impetus for writing this was “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” which is now in it’s third year. My plan will be to complete some of the weeks I missed but now I have three prompts to choose from.

So for week 12 which I skipped over, my options are:

  • Week 12 (Mar. 19-25, 2018): Misfortune
  • Week 12 (Mar. 18-24, 2019): 12
  • Week 12 (Mar. 18-24, 2020): Popular

So my thought is to figure out the most popular name in my family tree which currently has about 5000 names. How might I do that? I synced my tree with Family Tree Maker and put the names in alphabetical order by first name. I started to list any name that had 10 or more hits but it didn’t take too long to figure out that was way too many names so I changed it to 20 or more.

There are:

  • 24 Albert, 1 Alberta, 2 Albertus, & 6 Bert
  • 27 Alice
  • 32 Ann, Anne, Annie, or Anna
  • 25 Bertha
  • 32 Carol, Carolyn or Caroline, or Carrie
  • 23 Catherine or Cathy
  • 58 Charles or Charlie
  • 37 David
  • 29 Donald
  • 22 Doris
  • 26 Dorothy
  • 20 Earl
  • 31 Edward
  • 55 Eliza or Elizabeth
  • 26 Ella
  • 24 Florence
  • 21 Frances
  • 52 Francis, Francois, or Frank
  • 39 Fred or Frederick
  • 83 George
  • 20 Grace
  • 30 Hannah
  • 40 Harold or Harry
  • 32 Helen
  • 38 Henry
  • 85 James
  • 23 Jane
  • 24 Jennie
  • 148 John
  • 62 Joseph
  • 25 Katherine or Kate
  • 21 Kenneth
  • 22 Lewis or Louis
  • 25 Lucy
  • 47 Margaret & 3 Peggy
  • 133 Mary (even more if I count Marie)
  • 21 Mildred
  • 25 Paul
  • 24 Raymond
  • 35 Richard
  • 73 Robert
  • 20 Ruth
  • 42 Sarah
  • 34 Susan, Susanna, Susie
  • 44 Thomas
  • 20 Walter
  • 117 William

And the winner is!: John with 148, followed closely by Mary with 133 and William with 117.


Week 17 : Cemetery

I was in the play “Our Town” in high school. When I go by the Hutchins Cemetery on the Smith Road, I always picture the “greats,” like the dead people in the play, in rocking chairs watching the cars go by and I wave to them.

I remember going to the cemeteries on Memorial Day and putting lilacs near the stones of my grandparents. George and Sadie Smith at the Riverside Cemetery at the Center and Pete and Rose Barcomb at St Edmunds “new” Cemetery near the Depot.

For many years the Hutchins Cemetery was overgrown with trees and used as a cow pasture. I don’t remember what year the trees were cut down but I am very thankful so much of my family history was revealed.

My mother told me that her father had seen the poor condition of the stones of his grandparents and had gone to  the cemetery and reset them in cement. William and Mary (Holt) Smith along with their 7-year old daughter, Josephine and their son, George Washington Smith.

We found that my great grandmother, Adaline Kent Davis was buried at the cemetery on West Hill. Her stone was broken.

I somehow talked Cy and Danny into helping me fix it. About 1o years ago, we moved the broken stone from the cemetery to Alison’s garage and added (if I remember right) re-rod and then glued the pieces back together with a glue especially for stone. After drying a couple of days, we moved the stone back to the cemetery.

It says “Adaline, wife of Ira S Davis DIED Feb 9, 1874 AE. 29 Ys 10 M’s”

and under that, “Ada, died February 9, 1874, AE. 13 days.”

The small stone to the right says, “Dau of I. S. & A Davis died Oct. 16, 1873 AE. 2 y’s 2 mo’s”

The back of  that stone says Jennie.

Week 19: Mother’s Day

I skipped some of the prompts which haven’t led me to a story I wanted to tell. I may come back but more than likely not…


Week 12 (March 19-25): Misfortune
Week 14 (April 2-8): The Maiden Aunt
Week 15 (April 9-15): Taxes
Week 16 (April 16-22): Storms
Week 18 (April 30-May 6): Close Up

I am lucky to have these photos and drawings of the mothers who came before me.

Hannah Shepard Merrill
Lorinda Hubbard Walbridge
Sarah Ann Walbridge Merrill
Frankie Davis Merrill
Sadie Merrill Smith
Iris Smith Barcomb

Caroline Daignault Tourville
Nancy Tourville LaStraw
Felicite Jodoin Barcomb
Rose Lastraw Barcomb

Mary Holt Smith
Josephine Ayer Smith
Josephine Ayer Smith
Sadie Merrill Smith
Iris Smith Barcomb
Iris Smith Barcomb

Week 13 : The Old Homestead


Painting of the Old Homestead as remembered by Elton Fay (my mother’s cousin). This house was torn down about 1919.
William J Smith with his wife Josie and father William Smith. My grandfather George’s wagon is in the pic so taken sometime between 1884 and 1890.
The original square part of the house was built about 1919. My grandparents (George and Sadie) lived in the garage/barn across the road from here while the house was being built. The garage on  the front was built during  the early ’60s and the kitchen addition built about 1968. There had been a summer kitchen and woodshed where that is now.
From my grandmother Sadie’s album.
after many additions, picture taken in ’70s. It’s not in this pic but the hay mow in previous pic is still there.
from Beers Atlas, Clinton County  1869
A close-up from above map. The original home of William and Mary Smith in Ellenburg was near Graves Brook. This is where their daughter, Charlotte, fell and injured her back. Next door to them was Mrs J Morehead. I believe she was William Smith’s sister. District 13 school was in the same area. The road is where the current Smith Road goes out to meet the Plank Road.
Ellenburg Color map
About in the center of this map you can see sections 30 & 31. At the bottom of section 31 is a small road at an angle with the number 260 under it. This is the Hinds Road (name changed to Barcomb Road with 911). The middle dot there was the Benjamin Hinds place that eventually became the Barcomb Farm. School # 2 is where my mother attended elementary school in the 1920s. To the north of that in section 10 on the border of section 9 is the Hutchins Cemetery where William and Mary Smith are buried (and many other relatives.)
Google Map Ellenburg
Current Google Map of the area. Amazing that the roads are the same after nearly 150 years.




Researching Asahel Allen

I have very few facts on this man. He is listed in the 1850 Madrid NY census with parents Abel and Jane Allen and siblings:

  • Abel Allen           44
  • Jane Allen           30
  • Amos Allen         10
  • Asahal Allen       8
  • Albert Allen        6
  • Alferd Allen        4
  • Alvan Allen         2

According to this he was born about 1842.

Here is the info from U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865:

Name: Asahel Allen
Birth Year:           abt 1840
Place of Birth:    New York
Age on 1 July 1863:          23
Race:     White
Marital Status:   Unmarried (Single)
Residence:          Brandon, New York
Congressional District:   17th
Class:     1

He claimed to be 23 in 1863, making his DoB about 1840.

From Iowa Deaths and Burials”

Name: Asahel Allen
Gender: Male
Burial Date: 02 Nov 1908
Death Date: 31 Oct 1908
Death Place: Weldon, Iowa
Age: 65
Birth Date: 21 Dec 1842
Birthplace: New York
Occupation: Hotel Keeper
Marital Status: Married
Father’s Name: Able Allen
Father’s Birthplace: Vermont

May 29, 1919 The Leon Journal-Reporter from Leon, Iowa states “There are 105 soldiers buried in the Leon cemetery, who were participants in four wars, the Civil War, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, and the great World Wide War with Germany, which has terminated in victory.” One of those soldiers is Asahel Allen, Co. I, 91st N. Y. Inf.

Doing additional research on the National Park Service page Soldiers and Sailors Database I find that Asahel has been transcribed as “Allen, Aratel.”

Side: Union
Location: New York
Battle Unit:91st Regiment, New York Infantry
Function: Infantry
Alternate Name: Asahel/Allen

In census records, I find Asel Allen in 1900 in Stanberry, MO as a landlord with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Mabel (Mina King is listed as daughter but actually she is step-daughter.) This makes sense as his occupation in the Iowa Death Record was Hotel Keeper.  This led me back to 1880 in Lindley, MO where Ashel Allen was living with his in-laws Eli and Mary Grandstaff and his wife’s three children, Ernest, Mina, and James King.
None of these are absolute proof that Asahel Allen is the same person in all these cases.

But everything fits and it is my best guess that this is his life story so far as my research leads. With more research, if I find info to support or refute this, I will add it to here.


Strong Woman ~ Week 10

Week 10: Strong Woman
March is Women’s History Month, so what better way to start than with the prompt of “Strong Woman.” What female in your family tree has shown remarkable strength (either physical or emotional)? Tell her story.

I have fallen behind on the original goal of 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. I now have updated my goal to write “something” as often as I can. I really struggle with some of the prompts.

I believe that every woman has remarkable strength in  her own way so it’s difficult to pick out a specific one. Many times, I can’t find newspaper data on a specific woman because women’s names aren’t used. “Mrs. Allen is feeling sickly.” “Mrs. Smith died last week.” Obituaries often listed survivors as (for example) “a daughter and a son out west”  with no mention of names.

And for many of them, I don’t have a story, only more questions. What happened between Richard Farley and  Mary Jane Smith Farley that caused them to seek a divorce in the early 1900s after 52 years of marriage?

Mary Jane’s sister, Charlotte, fell in Graves Brook as a teen and used crutches or a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She lived on her own and became a successful business woman. How did she do that?

A lot of the women moved with their husbands to new places to start new lives. It could be the next town over or across the country. Hannah Shepard moved with Paul Merrill from New Hampshire to New York in the early 1800s. What could she bring with her? Would she ever again see the people she left behind?  How difficult was it to leave what they knew to move to a new place whatever the reasons?

There are people like Adaline Kent Davis who lost a child in the fall of 1873 and then an infant in February 1874 on the same day she also died. What epidemic swept through the community?

Felicite Jodwin married a man who already had several children and then raised ten more of her own. What challenges did she face?

Many family trees show children born every couple of years. It saddens me when I see that a woman has given birth to 6 or 8 or 10 children but there are only 1 or 2 who live to adulthood. How does a woman survive that and keep going?

I think the fact that these women survived whatever was thrown at them is the point of this. Their sons went to war; some never returned. They worked with their husbands on farms or kept a home going and raised children.

Whatever the case, I am glad for these women who came before me. Their strengths may or may not be genetic but their stories inspire me.




Researching Alvin Allen

I’m not having much luck searching for Asahel Allen so I switched my focus to Alvin Allen.

I took a class a few weeks ago and the most useful thing I learned was to put together charts from census records for the family you are working on.

Allen Family
A work in progress: this chart is from 4-30-2018.

Because I can’t find any of the Allens in 1860, it looks like there are two families. Alvin is listed with the family in 1850 and 1870 which gives this continuity. By 1880, Alvin was married to Sarah Finney (or Finley?), they had a child, Claude, listed as being born in 1873 in Canada, and were living in Westboro, Wisconsin. This census shows that Alvin’s neighbor was Albert Allen, possibly (probably?) his brother. This will definitely lead to more research.

As I was trying to research Asahel, I came across Civil War records for him and his brother, Amos, that list their parents as Abel Allen and Jane Cox. Since this was a transcribed record, I could not see the original to find out what it actually said. This threw me way off. Had I been wrong in all my previous research and connected my Abel and Jane Allen to a different family with the same first names? I did a lot of backtracking and didn’t find much that proved that my 3rd great aunt, Jane Holt, was actually the mother of the Allens I was researching.

Alvin’s 1900 census record for Lincoln, Wisconsin puts me back on track.
Alvin Allen 1900a

Alvin’s widowed uncle, Chester Bosworth, is living with the family. He is listed in Levi Holt’s probate records as the husband of Maria Holt, a sister to Jane (Holt) Allen and Mary  (Holt) Smith.

The 1904 marriage record for Leon Chester Allen, age 23 (so born about 1881), lists his parents as Alvin Allen and Sarah Allen. The Allen after Sarah is crossed out and Finney written above.

There aren’t a lot of mentions of Alvin in but I did find a few.

Alvin 1
The Ogdensburg journal., April 16, 1891

Frank and his wife Lottie named their son for Uncle Alvin. He is mentioned many times in the Saint Lawrence County newspapers.

Alvin 2
The Ogdensburg journal., September 25, 1877

Perhaps the fire precipitated the family’s move to Wisconsin?

Alvin died at Sandpoint Idaho in 1908. Some records say Sarah died in 1953. The stone shown on Find a Grave is very difficult to read. To me, it looks like it says:

Father Alvin, 1847-1908
Mother Sarah 1856-1923(8?)
Sister Vera M 1881-190?76869325_131661794286

Looking at the 1900 census record again shows us that Alvin and Sarah were married for 30 years and had three children, all still living. None of them were named Vera. So who is she? Or does this stone not belong to this Allen family?

More research!

Researching Harriet Allen

Last week while I was researching Alfred Allen, the doctor from Parishville, I came across a newspaper blurb that mentioned his mother was ill. Then a couple weeks later another notice that she had been buried.

Courier and freeman., February 18, 1891
The Ogdensburg advance and St. Lawrence weekly Democrat., March 05, 1891





I decided that I would see what I could find about East Part cemetery. It didn’t take long to find a pic of the stone on . Allen


Granted, there aren’t a lot of documents that list Jane Allen using her first name but this is the only one I have found that calls her “Mary Jane.” And this is where I found Harriet. “Hattie” died in 1876 at 20 years old, the wife of CTH Riggs. I searched but found nothing under Riggs for 1876. I changed the search to “Hattie” and found this:

Courier and freeman., April 13, 1876

I did a bit of research on CTH Riggs. (Why did he have so many names?) Mr Riggs was from Stockholm NY also. He is found on US census records there in 1850, 1860 and 1870 as Calvin Riggs. By 1880, he had remarried to Henrietta (Ettia) Johnson, moved to Wisconsin and had a daughter. There were three more children by 1895. His daughter, Ivy’s,  birth certificate in Cook County, Illinois, lists his full name as “Calvin Tilden Hulbert Riggs.” Ettia died in 1903 and Mr Riggs married again in 1905. He was married in Potsdam, NY to Kate Riggs. They both went back to Wisconsin. (I don’t know if  or how Kate Riggs might be related to Calvin Riggs.) Kate Riggs died in 1918. Calvin outlived three wives and himself died in 1926.

One of CTH Riggs hints on was a pic from “Naomi’s Bible.” One of the entries shows the marriage date for CTH Riggs and Hattie Allen as Oct 13, 1872.

Recap Harriet Allen:

  • 1870 census living with parents in Stockholm NY.
  • 1872 married at 16 to CTH “Hulburd” Riggs.
  • 1876 dies of scarlet fever
  • 1876 buried at East Part cemetery

It makes me sad that her life was so short. But I am glad that I was able to find even this little bit of information about her.

Researching Alfred Allen

One of Abel and  Jane (Holt) Allen’s sons became a doctor and lived in Parishville, NY.  In 1870, he was 13 and still living in Stockholm with his parents. I am having a hard time finding him in 1880 census records because there are several Alfred Allens and I have no way to distinguish them. In 1900, he lived in Parishville with his wife Minnie and her parents. They had been married 12 years and had no children. (According to the newspaper, they were actually married in 1884.)  My search in is intriguing.

Norwood news., January 24, 1882

Courier and freeman., February 27, 1884
This one, I don’t really understand:


St. Lawrence Republican and Ogdensburgh weekly journal., December 31, 1884alfred6

Courier and freeman., February 18, 1891
Jane Allen was still alive in February 1891.
alfred7 but she died a short time later:

The Ogdensburg advance and St. Lawrence weekly Democrat., March 05, 1891


And here is Hattie Seaver, niece of Alfred and Amos Allen; which person is the mother of Hattie?  The Ogdensburg journal., January 23, 1894


There are many notes through the 1880’s and ’90s about Dr Allen being called for various ailments,including diphtheria, broken bones, lumber accidents and sick children. Finally, I found this one, a little more personal, about the doctor’s summer home.

St. Lawrence Republican and Ogdensburgh weekly journal., May 06, 1896alfred9

Courier and freeman., August 01, 1900



The Massena observer., October 04, 1900

The Massena observer., October 11, 1900alfred12

The St. Lawrence herald., November 02, 1900


The Northern tribune., September 25, 1901


Norwood news., October 01, 1901


Courier and freeman., October 02, 1901

Finally, with this article, we get an idea of what it was all about:


And sad news:

The Massena observer., October 10, 1901


JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 37 Oct. 1901


This article mentions that Alfred’s father Abel Allen was a native of Peru VT. And another gives his date and place of birth.

Courier and freeman., October 16, 1901,
The Ogdensburg journal., October 08, 1901