ten years blogging

“Getting Ready for Winter” by Šarūnas Burdulis
American red squirrel descaling and eating hemlock seeds

I found this picture some time ago on Wikimedia Commons and have been saving it for pairing with a poem or a quote but, so far, nothing has turned up to inspire. However, today is my ten year blogging anniversary and the timing seems right. The picture captures the best of my childhood memories in the woods. I used to pretend those tiny hemlock cones were bushes for the landscaping around the little houses I built in my sandbox…

After about a month of doing well on medication for the radiation proctitis I suffered a setback at the end of January, leaving me frustrated and discouraged and tied to the house again. We’re trying something new and hoping things will improve soon. In the meantime I’ve pushed myself to resume my yoga for seniors, which I hadn’t done since last fall when I got so sick. And much to my surprise, I’ve taken up doing jigsaw puzzles! It seems easier than reading these days. Using a different part of my weary brain, no doubt. Watching the birds at my feeder provides hours of entertainment.

Naturally a lot has changed in ten years since I started blogging! I used to spend more time sharing images, lyrics, poetry, and quotes, and I still love a good pairing of words and pictures now and then. Now, my main joys seem to be nature walks and photography and family history research. I do hope I will be able to get back to them in the near future.

Annie’s Children

Anna Eliza Baker (1845-1927), center front, and her three children:
William Nelson Hamblin (1883-1958), Amanda Eliza Hamblin (1879-1966),
and Benjamin Francis Hamblin (1873-1955).

Annie is my 2nd-great-grandmother and her daughter, standing behind her, Amanda, is my great-grandmother, who died when I was 9 years old. I adored my great-grandmother. She was the one adult who seemed to understand my baby doll was “real.” She once admonished me for leaving the baby too close to the edge of the couch where she could easily fall off.

My cousin sent me this picture recently and now I can picture what my great-grandmother looked like as a young woman. Two women in my direct maternal line.

Annie and Amanda both married sea captains. Sadly Annie’s husband died a month and a half before their last child William was born. And their first son died when he was only 11 days old. Annie never remarried.

The biographical sketch I wrote about this family can be found here: A Sea Captain.

James Morgan & Margery Hill

1.27.20 ~ James Morgan (1607-1685)

A visit to the special history collection at the Bill Memorial Library in Groton turned up another book containing a map of the Avery-Morgan Burial Ground, identifying who is buried where. To the right of the line of four ovoid stones of my ancestors (discussed in previous posts) are two more graves with very small stones. They mark the resting places of the parents of Capt. James Morgan. My 9th-great-grandparents. Back to the cemetery for more pictures!

1.27.20 ~ Margery Hill (1611-1690)

James Morgan, my 9th-great-grandfather, was born about 1607 in Wales, and died 6 August 1685 in Groton (New London) Connecticut. He married 6 August 1640 in Roxbury-Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, Margery Hill, who was born about 1611 in England, and died 28 April 1690 in Wallingford (New Haven) Connecticut, presumably while visiting her daughter.

The following is from History of New London County, Connecticut, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers & Prominent Men compiled under the supervision of D. Hamilton Hurd, (Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis & Co., 1882)

James MORGAN died about 1685. He was about seventy-eight years of age. The earliest notice of him is from the records of Boston, where the birth of his daughter Hannah is registered, eighteenth day, fifth month, 1642. He was afterwards of Gloucester, and came with the Cape Ann company to Pequot, where he acted as one of the townsmen from 1653 to 1656, inclusive. His homestead, “on the path to New Street,” was sold Dec. 25, 1657. He then removed east of the river, where he had large grants of land. The following additional grant alludes to his dwelling: “James MORGAN hath given him about six acres of upland where the wigwams were in the path that goes from his house towards CULVER’s among the rocky hills.” He was often employed by the public in land surveys, stating highways, and determining boundaries, and was nine times deputy to the General Court. His estate was settled in 1685 by division among four children,–James, John, Joseph, and Hannah, wife of Nehemiah ROYCE.

James & Margery were the parents of six children:

  1. Hannah Morgan, born 18 July 1642 in Roxbury, died 12 December 1706 in Wallingford. She married 20 November 1660 in New London (New London) Connecticut, Nehemiah Royce, who was born 30 May 1637 in England, and died 1 November 1706 in Wallingford.
  2. Capt. James Morgan (my 8th-great-grandfather), born 3 March 1643 in Roxbury, died 8 December 1711 in Groton. He married (as his first wife) in November 1666 in New London, Mary Vine, who was born about 1641 and died 8 December 1689 in Groton. James & Mary were the parents of six children. James married (as his second wife and as her second husband) about 1690, Hannah (Brewster) Starr, who was born 3 November 1641 in Duxbury (Plymouth) Massachusetts, and died 11 December 1711 in Groton, daughter of Jonathan and Lucretia (Oldham) Brewster.
  3. John Morgan, born 30 March 1645 in Roxbury, died 12 February 1712 in Preston (New London) Connecticut. He married (as his first wife) 16 November 1665 in New London, Rachel Deming, who was born about 1643 in Wethersfield (Hartford) Connecticut and died 6 August 1689 in Groton, daughter of John and Honor (Treat) Deming. John & Rachel were the parents of seven children. John married (as his second wife) about 1689, Elizabeth Jones, who was born 28 August 1664 in New Haven (New Haven) Connecticut and died 23 August 1711 in Preston, daughter of William and Hannah (Eaton) Jones. John & Elizabeth were the parents of eight children.
  4. Lt. Joseph Morgan, born 29 November 1646 in Roxbury, died 5 April 1704 in New London. He married in April 1670 in New London, Dorothy Park, who was born 6 March 1652 in New London and died 5 April 1704 in New London, daughter of Thomas and Dorothy (Thompson) Park. Joseph & Dorothy were the parents of ten children.
  5. Abraham Morgan, born 3 September 1648 in Roxbury, died there in August 1649.
  6. unnamed daughter, born 17 November 1650, died a week later.
1.27.20 ~ Erected to the Memory of the Founders of the First Avery and First Morgan Families in America Whose Graves Are Near This Site.

The Norwich Ovoid Carver

So we finally made it over to the Groton Public Library and found the above book in the James Streeter History Room. Unfortunately, the identity of the carver of the gravestones in my last three posts is lost to history, but he is referred to as the Norwich Ovoid Carver.

Particularly in the old Norwichtown burying ground, but also in Windham, Groton, Preston, and Coventry, one finds a small number of large rude semicircular stones that are among the earliest carved stones in the area. They are not just the crude initialed carving found in many inland cemeteries. These stones have obviously been shaped and the fronts smoothed. There is no attempt at designs, but the lettering is deeply and boldly cut and has remained legible for over two hundred years, often without appreciable deterioration. The Groton stones are particularly clear, but may well have been recut. There is something appealing in the elemental cleanness and strength of these early stones. They give one the impression of a society determined to remember its founders forever with no nonsense about it.
~ James A. Slater
(The Colonial Burying Grounds of Eastern Connecticut & The Men Who Made Them)

Besides the four gravestones in Groton belonging to my ancestors, there are thirteen more found in Norwich, three in Preston, two in Windham and one in Coventry.

Capt. James Morgan & Mary Vine

1.18.20 ~ Capt. James Morgan (1643-1711)
1.18.20 ~ Mary (Vine) Morgan (1641-1689)

Capt. James Morgan, my 8th-great-grandfather, son of James and Margery (Hill) Morgan, was born 3 March 1643 in Roxbury-Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, and died 8 December 1711 in Groton (New London) Connecticut. He married (as his first wife) in November 1666 in New London (New London) Connecticut, Mary Vine, who was born about 1641 and died 8 December 1689 in Groton.

James married (as his second wife and as her second husband) about 1690, Hannah (Brewster) Starr, who was born 3 November 1641 in Duxbury (Plymouth) Massachusetts, and died 11 December 1711 in Groton, daughter of Jonathan and Lucretia (Oldham) Brewster.

The following is from Genealogical & Biographical Record of New London County, Connecticut (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1905), 291

[Capt. James Morgan] was one of the first two deacons of the first church in Groton, was principal magistrate, and transacted the greater portion of the civil business in his vicinity for years. He was moderator of the first town meeting, and was first selectman of the town, and became captain of the first town band (militia) in 1692. In 1689 he was one of the deputies of the General Court from New London, for the new town of Groton in 1706, and for several years was a commissioner to advance and direct the Pequot tribe of Indians in the management of their affairs.

James & Mary were the parents of six children:

  1. Dea. James Morgan, born 6 February 1667 in New London, died 4 May 1748 in Groton.
  2. Dea. William Morgan, born 4 March 1669 in New London, died 25 December 1750 in Groton. He married 1 July 1696 in Groton, Margaret Avery, who was born 7 February 1674 in New London, and died 28 July 1755 in Groton, daughter of James and Deborah (Stallion) Avery. William & Margaret were the parents of at least six children.
  3. Mary Morgan (my 7th-great-grandmother), born 20 March 1671 in New London, died 14 September 1765 in Stonington (New London) Connecticut. She married (as her first husband) 1 January 1695 in Groton, her stepbrother, Thomas Starr, who was born 27 September 1668 in New London, and died 30 January 1712 in Groton, son of Samuel and Hannah (Brewster) Starr. Mary & Thomas were the parents of seven children. Mary married (as her second husband and as his third wife) 14 December 1717, William Peabody, who was born 24 November 1664 in Duxbury (Plymouth) Massachusetts, and died 17 September 1744 in Little Compton (Newport) Rhode Island, son of William and Elizabeth (Alden) Peabody.
  4. Hannah Morgan, born 8 June 1674 in New London, died 21 April 1727 in Groton. She married 30 June 1698 in Groton, Capt. William Latham, who was born 9 July 1670 in New London, and died 5 November 1732 in Groton, son of Joseph and Mary (Blanchard) Latham. Hannah & William were the parents of six children.
  5. Elizabeth Morgan, born 9 September 1678 in New London, died 18 September 1763 in Groton. She married (as her first husband) 12 January 1699 in New London, her stepbrother, Capt. Jonathan Starr, who was born 23 February 1674 in New London, and died 26 August 1747 in Groton, son of Samuel and Hannah (Brewster) Starr. Elizabeth & Jonathan were the parents of three children. Elizabeth married (as her second husband and as his second wife) about 1749, Dea. Thomas Adgate, who was born 16 March 1669 in Norwich (New London) Connecticut, and died there 10 December 1760, son of Thomas and Mary (Marvin) Adgate.
  6. Jerusha Morgan, born about 1682 in New London, died 2 June 1726. She married 22 April 1704, Nicholas Street, who was born 14 July 1677 in Wallingford (New Haven) Connecticut, and died 10 July 1733 in Groton, son of Samuel and Anna (—) Street.

My Starr & Morgan Line

Samuel Starr & Hannah Brewster /// Capt. James Morgan & Mary Vine

Thomas Starr & Mary Morgan (step-siblings from marriage of Hannah Brewster & Capt. James Morgan)

Rachel Starr (1705-1791)
Mary Denison (1728-1803)
Elias Thompson (1773-1848)
Lucy Anne Thompson (1808-1852)
William Martin White (1836-1925)
Samuel Minor White (1873-1949)
John Everett White (my grandfather)

Ye Body of Mrs Hannah Morgan

1.18.20 ~ Hannah (Brewster) (Starr) Morgan (1641-1711)

Samuel Starr, my 8th-great-grandfather, son of Thomas and Rachel (—) Starr, was born about 1640, probably in Massachusetts, and died about 1688 in New London County, Connecticut. He married (as her first husband) 23 December 1664 in New London (New London) Connecticut, Hannah Brewster, who was born 3 November 1641 in Duxbury (Plymouth) Massachusetts, and died 11 December 1711 in Groton (New London) Connecticut, daughter of Jonathan and Lucretia (Oldham) Brewster.

Hannah married (as her second husband and as his second wife) about 1690, Capt. James Morgan, who was born 3 March 1643 in Roxbury-Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, and died 8 December 1711 in Groton, son of James and Margery (Hill) Morgan.

Samuel is buried in the Colchester Burying Ground in Colchester, Connecticut. Hannah is buried between her son Thomas Starr and her second husband Capt. Morgan in the Avery-Morgan Burial Ground in Groton.

The following is from A History of the Starr Family, of New England, from the ancestor Dr. Comfort Starr, of Ashford, County of Kent, England, Who Emigrated to Boston, Mass., in 1635 by Burgis Pratt Starr, (Hartford, Connecticut: Case, Lockwood & Brainard, 1879), 14

[Samuel Starr] was one of the early settlers of New London, and a prominent man in the town, holding the honorable office of County Marshall (High Sheriff) from 1674 to his death. In 1670 he proposed to establish a ferry at Norwich, and lands were voted him for the purpose, but probably proving unprofitable, he gave it up and forfeited the grant.

He lived on the old “Buttonwood corner,” now corner of Main and State streets. There is no record of his death, but as a grant of land, made to him June 22, 1687, was deeded away by his widow, Feb. 22, 1687-8, his death occurred between those dates.

Hannah & Samuel were the parents of four sons:

  1. Samuel Starr, born 11 December 1665 in New London, died after 1687.
  2. Thomas Starr (my 7th-great-grandfather), born 27 September 1668 in New London, died 30 January 1712 in Groton. He married (as her first husband) 1 January 1695 in Groton, his stepsister, Mary Morgan, who was born 20 March 1671 in New London, and died 14 September 1765 in Stonington (New London) Connecticut, daughter of James and Mary (Vine) Morgan. Thomas & Mary were the parents of seven children.
  3. Comfort Starr, born before 6 August 1671 in New London, probably died young.
  4. Capt. Jonathan Starr, born 23 February 1674 in New London, died 26 August 1747 in Groton. He married (as her first husband) 12 January 1699 in New London, his stepsister, Elizabeth Morgan, who was born 9 September 1678 in Groton and died there 18 September 1763, daughter of James and Mary (Vine) Morgan. Jonathan & Elizabeth were the parents of three children.
1.17.20 ~ Barbara at Avery-Morgan Burial Ground

It was bitterly cold! But I was happy to find four of my ancestors. I am kneeling behind the grave of my 7th-great-grandfather, Thomas Starr, a shipwright. To the right is his mother, my 8th-great-grandmother, Hannah (Brewster) (Starr) Morgan. Next is his stepfather and father-in-law, my 8th-great-grandfather, Capt. James Morgan. Next is his mother-in-law, my 8th-great-grandmother, Mary (Vine) Morgan.

It’s complicated! It took me a while to sort it all out, but the start of the confusion occurred when Thomas married his stepsister, Mary Morgan. So his stepfather became his father-in-law.

On the far right Mary (Vine) Morgan died in 1689. Then her widower, James Morgan, married Hannah (Brewster) Starr about 1690. Next to die was James, on 8 December 1711, about 19 years after his first wife died. Then Hannah, his second wife, followed closely on 11 December 1711 and then Hannah’s son, Thomas, on 30 January 1712. He was only 43 years old. It has me wondering about a possible epidemic.

Joshua Hempstead of New London recorded the deaths of three adult members of the Lester family within one month, as well as the deaths of a few more who died after short illnesses during the winter of 1711-1712, but he said nothing definite about an epidemic. Nearby in Groton, and in Milford, there are a few gravestones suggesting the prevalence of a contagious disease among adults that winter and spring.
~ Ernest Caulfield
(The Pursuit of a Pestilence)

Avery-Morgan Burial Ground

1.17.20 ~ Thomas Starr (1668-1712)

Now that I am adjusting to this new chapter in my life I’ve been feeling the urge to locate more ancestral resting places and get back to work on our family histories. Looking through my data I discovered a cemetery close to home here in Groton, a cemetery I had no idea even existed! And four of my ancestors lie buried there. Good place to start.

This graveyard is way off the beaten path. First we had to take Filtration Plant Road north off Route 1. We had assumed the only thing up there was the filtration plant! But before reaching the guardhouse a road goes off to the left and then forks again to the left, leading to Smith Lake Cemetery (1863), which we had to drive through before reaching the much older Avery-Morgan Burial Ground (1685).

Thomas Starr, my 7th-great-grandfather, son of Samuel and Hannah (Brewster) Starr, was born 27 September 1668 in New London (New London) Connecticut, and died 30 January 1712 in Groton (New London) Connecticut. (The stone reads 1711 because he died when the Julian calendar was in use.) He married (as her first husband) 1 January 1695 in Groton, his stepsister, Mary Morgan, who was born 20 March 1671 in New London, and died 14 September 1765 in Stonington (New London) Connecticut, daughter of James and Mary (Vine) Morgan.

Mary married (as her second husband and as his third wife) 14 December 1717, William Peabody, who was born 24 November 1664 in Duxbury (Plymouth) Massachusetts, and died 17 September 1744 in Little Compton (Newport) Rhode Island, the son of William and Elizabeth (Alden) Peabody.

Mary is not buried here with her first husband, but in Crary Cemetery in North Stonington, Connecticut. Thomas and Mary became step-siblings when Thomas’ mother (Hannah Brewster) married Mary’s father (Capt. James Morgan) about 1690.

The following is from The Brewster Genealogy, 1566-1907; a Record of the Descendants of William Brewster of the “Mayflower,” Ruling Elder of the Pilgrim Church Which Founded Plymouth Colony in 1620, Volume 1 by Emma C. Brewster Jones, (New York: The Grafton Press, 1908), 20

Thomas Starr “was one of the patentees of New London, Conn., Oct. 14, 1704; soon after settled in Groton on his large farm bordering the river; was a shipwright and built a sloop called the Sea Flower.”

Mary & Thomas were the parents of seven children:

  1. Mary Starr, born 29 June 1696 in Groton, died there 15 April 1774. She married 1 November 1716 in Groton, Capt. John Chester, who was born 29 March 1692 in Groton and died there 1 June 1771. Mary & John were the parents of eight children.
  2. Hannah Starr, born 29 August 1698 in Groton. She married 17 March 1719 in Groton, Joseph Buttolph, who was born in 1694 and died in 1759. Hannah & Joseph were the parents of three children.
  3. Thomas Starr, born 26 September 1700 in Groton, died there in 1701.
  4. Jerusha Starr, born 8 February 1703 in Groton and died before 11 May 1773 in North Stonington. She married 30 July 1724, her stepbrother, William Peabody, who was born 21 February 1702 in Little Compton and died 3 June 1778 in Stonington, son of William and Judith (Tilden) Peabody. Jerusha & William were the parents of nine children.
  5. Rachel Starr (my 6th-great-grandmother), born 15 September 1705 in Groton and died there 4 February 1791. She married (as her first husband) 14 November 1726 in New London, her second cousin, Daniel Denison, who was born 27 June 1703 in New London and died 2 February 1749, son of George and Mary (Wetherell) Denison. Rachel & Daniel were the parents of ten children. Rachel married (as her second husband and his second wife) 21 November 1759 in New London, Col. Ebenezer Avery, who was born 29 March 1704 in Groton and died there 11 July 1780, son of James and Mary (Griswold) Avery.
  6. James Starr, born 18 October 1708 in Groton and died about 1787.
  7. Thomas Starr, born 10 April 1711 in Groton and died 14 May 1759. He married Jerusha Street, who was born in 1715 in Groton and died 6 July 1790, daughter of Nicholas and Jerusha (—) Street. Thomas & Jerusha were the parents of two children.

Coming soon I will post about the other ancestors buried here.

diagnosis: radiation proctitis

Radiation proctitis (and the related radiation colitis) is inflammation and damage to the lower parts of the colon after exposure to x-rays or other ionizing radiation as a part of radiation therapy.

In January and February of 2018 I had three radiation treatments for endometrial cancer, following a hysterectomy. In July 2018 I began having distressing gastrointestinal symptoms which kept getting worse for the next 18 months. Now that I finally have a diagnosis I decided to create this narrative to keep track of how it all unfolded.

At first I made no connection between my symptoms and the treatment, assuming I had developed the irritable bowel syndrome that seems to run in my family. Dietary changes brought some relief at first but things kept getting worse.

In June of 2019 I described all my symptoms to the radiologist who had treated me but she dismissed my concerns, she said it sounded like irritable bowel syndrome that was made worse by the emotional stress of having cancer. Not anything related to the radiation therapy. I’m still angry about this.

In August of 2019 I saw my oncologist who agreed with the radiologist. Meanwhile I kept eliminating foods from my diet and looked into stress management. No signs of cancer returning but could worrying about the possibility really be causing all this? If I was worried it was definitely subconscious.

Early in November 2019 granddaughter Katherine came to visit us for three wonderful days. We had so much fun with her! But on the last day our visit was cut short when I had a very painful attack of ischemic colitis which landed me in the emergency department, getting all kinds of tests and a shot of morphine. It took me two weeks to recover, although the remaining gastrointestinal symptoms were worse than ever.

Tim spent some time searching for a new gastroenterologist and found an all-female practice. I took a chance and am so pleased with my new doctor and her APRN. They listened to my concerns!

A colonoscopy was scheduled for December 18 and we made it to the clinic driving through an ice storm. When I woke up afterwards the doctor told me my intestines were definitely damaged from the radiation. Physical evidence. Tears of relief ran down my cheeks, not for the news, but for feeling validated. It wasn’t psychosomatic.

On January 3, 2020, on my follow-up appointment with the APRN, I received the official diagnosis, radiation proctosis. I also have radiation colitis on the other side of my pelvis, where the small intestine joins the large intestine. It’s permanent. It’s a relief to know I’m not crazy and my focus is shifting from trying to “cure” my symptoms but now to finding ways to manage and live with them. I’ve started one med which has helped me enough to make a trip to the grocery store possible. (I hadn’t been out of the house, except for medical appointments, for two months!)

Another med the insurance company won’t cover. Still waiting to see what, if any, substitute can be made. The strategy is to reduce the inflammation as much as possible.

My goal is to take a walk in the woods one of these days. And to have supper at the beach with my gull friend this summer.