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.
My cousin sent me a little puzzle I enjoyed solving. He is also going through boxes from the grandparents! Along with the front and back of this postcard he sent a question, “My middle name is Weekes and I saw this post card from Weekes to Swift… may be of interest to you and also I don’t know who the kid is on the photograph, might you?” It took me a couple of hours, going over my data stored away at Ancestry, to find someone who fit.
So finally I could write back:
My best guess for the identity of the little fellow in the picture would be Albert E. Weekes (1907-1991). He is our 2nd cousin, 3 times removed. The postcard was sent in July 1911, when he was 3 years 9 months old, and the message says the picture was taken when he was 2 years 9 months old, which Albert was in July of 1910. He was 10 years younger than his next older sibling, his sister Bertha.
The post card is from his parents, Mr. & Mrs. G. A. Weekes, George Albert Weekes (1849-1917) & Mary J. (Hilliard) Weekes (1867-1952).
The post card was sent to George’s first cousin, Mrs. Edward E. Swift, Susan Flora (Freeman) Swift (1864-1963). She is our 3rd-great-aunt, Aunt Flora, of Woods Hole.
Our ancestors in common are my 4th-great-grandparents, Isaac Weekes (1780-1841) & Elisabeth (Allen) Weekes, profiled here. The cousins, Mr. Weekes and Mrs. Swift, were their grandchildren. They have many descendants and I haven’t found all of them yet, I’m sure!
Dennis’ 400 sea captains earned their living upon the waves of the world. Their journeys took them to faraway lands inhabited by exotic peoples. Years, sometimes a good part of a decade would go by before they returned home to see family and friends. Yet this is the life they chose. Perhaps the spray and smell and salt of the ocean was in their blood, calling them from the rooted land to journey upon the rising and falling waves of the sea.
~ Jack Sheedy
My grandmother loved telling me stories about her own grandfather and often reminded me that the sea was in my blood. I’m pretty sure it was this sea captain who took his second wife with him on a few of his voyages and bought her a “monkey” in some foreign land. Apparently the creature was a “holy terror” on the ship but she adored him.
My 2nd-great-grandfather, Capt. Martin Edward Thompson, firstborn son of Martin and Ann Isabella (Hughs) Thompson, was born 4 August 1850 in Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died in 1928. He married (as his first wife) 5 July 1874 in Harwich (Barnstable) Massachusetts, Elisabeth Emma “Lizzie” Freeman, who was born 4 September 1851 in Harwich, and died there 4 October 1876, daughter of Warren and Elisabeth (Weekes) Freeman.
Martin was named after his father, a Norwegian immigrant, and followed in his footsteps, becoming a Master Mariner and captain of the schooner Nellie Lamphear. He also served on coasting vessels, tug boats, and was licensed to enter any port in the world. In 1910 he was elected port warden of Boston by the Boston Marine Society, the oldest association of sea captains in the world.
Elisabeth died of a “stoppage” when she was 25 years old and her baby son was only 18 months old. Her gravestone is inscribed:
Fled O forever from our view A dear daughter, wife and mother, too: She was a treasure lent, not given: To be called away from Earth to Heaven. Life to her looked bright and joyous And her home was very dear: To the summons of her Savior, She gently yielded without fear.
The 1880 census indicates that, now a widower, Martin was living with his parents and his young son. Five years after Lizzie’s death, Martin married (as his second wife) her younger sister, Rosilla Ida “Rosie” Freeman, 23 February 1882 in Dennis. Rosie was born 6 March 1856 in Harwich, and died 18 March 1923, without children. In 1900, Martin and Rosilla were living as lodgers in the house of Nancy H. Merrill in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Martin owned a beloved horse named Nellie (named after his schooner or vice versa?) who lived in the barn at 114 Depot St. in Dennis. He gave his granddaughter, my grandmother, her first three cars. According to my grandfather, Martin and his granddaughter Thommie worshiped each other. The first car was a Model T that had to have the carbon scraped every week. The next was a 2-door sedan Model T. Martin lies buried with his second wife, Rosilla, in Swan Lake Cemetery in Dennis, and Emma, his first wife, is buried in the same cemetery but in another lot with his parents and other members of his family.
Elisabeth & Martin were the parents of one son:
1. Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson (my great-grandfather), born 29 March 1875 in Harwich, died 13 July 1965 in Dennis. He married 1 February 1900 in Dennis, Amanda Eliza Hamblin, who was born there 2 August 1879 and died 6 July 1966 in Taunton (Bristol) Massachusetts, daughter of Capt. William Nelson and Anna Eliza (Baker) Hamblin. Martin & Amanda were the parents of one daughter.
In 1964 my grandparents inherited and moved into Martin’s house at 114 Depot Street, along with my great-grandparents, who they were caring for. Some of our happiest family memories were made there. My dear cousin Matthew bought the house in 2001 after our grandfather died. He renovated the place, keeping its historical integrity and was awarded a certificate of appreciation from the Dennis Historical Commission in 2005. Sadly, the house had to be sold in 2009.
On our mother’s birthday, October 17th, my sister Beverly and I went early to the cemetery in Harwich for some time alone with our parents and our memories, bringing along Papa’s ashes in a nature-inspired wooden casket. After we placed some flowers around the gravestones of our parents and grandparents, a small red dragonfly landed on our parents’ stone. Its presence was a special gift…
A little later, as we were remembering our grandparents, the dragonfly flew over to perch on their gravestone, too, just above the “E” in White. And there was another special moment after the rest of the family started arriving. A small red dragonfly landed on my brother-in-law’s shoulder and stayed there for a long while. John was the one who was Papa’s primary caregiver for all these years, and it was good to have him appreciated and acknowledged in this meaningful way. I like to think it was the same dragonfly, but can’t know for sure…
When we had all gathered around in a circle, Tim read my little essay about my father – I knew I couldn’t read it without sobbing – and then my cousin Matthew read messages from his father (my uncle) and his sister (my cousin). And then everyone began sharing their own memories. After that, Beverly lowered the casket full of Papa’s ashes deep into the ground, and then most of us took turns shoveling the earth back over him. It was a beautiful autumn day and our little ceremony felt so natural and intimate.
Our parents are together now. The next thing I knew, everyone – there were 14 of us – wanted to go to another cemetery in Dennis, to see where our great-grandparents and two generations before them lie buried. (Swan Lake Cemetery) It was quite something to show my granddaughter the graves of her 5th-great-grandparents, who were immigrants from Norway and Ireland, and tell her how they met here in America and raised their family on Cape Cod, and how he was a sea-captain…
After that little expedition we all made our way over to Yarmouth to eat at the Hearth ‘n’ Kettle, a favorite restaurant of the family. We toasted those who came before us with Cape Codders (vodka, cranberry juice, lime wedge) and enjoyed a delicious leisurely dinner. And then we returned to our rented house and had my parents’ favorite birthday cakes as we gathered around the spacious dining room table – lemon jello cake in honor of my mother and chocolate butter-cream in honor of my father.
In the evening we piled into the living room and watched a football game while shelling and munching on peanuts, and drinking Papa’s favorite beer. It was my kids’ idea – they have fond memories of shelling peanuts with their Grandpa while he was watching football on TV. It was good to be with family – sharing memories together – some of us had not seen each other in a very long time.
Whenever we were at a funeral, for people or pets, ever since I was a little girl, my father always advised us to remember the good times. And so we did.
These are my maternal grandparents and I had never seen these pictures before Saturday. While Tim & I were out shopping, getting ready for our daughter’s wedding, my cousin was scanning and sending some pictures he found of our grandparents in their younger years. Only today did I notice that June 8, Saturday, was their birthday. Thank you so much, Matthew, for remembering!
Grandfather was born June 8, 1905, and Grandmother was born June 8, 1906. They were married 30 November 1929. I never knew my grandfather smoked a pipe – but I always knew he was a perfect gentleman! The dog was their beloved pet, Honey.
Above are my grandparents and their two children, my mother and my uncle.
It’s hard to make them out, but my grandparents and uncle are sitting on the stone wall and my mother is in the canoe. I see her passion for canoeing started in her childhood. She took us canoeing often when my sister and I were children. I’m in a very sentimental, wistful, thoughtful mood this week – five days before the wedding!
On Friday November 9, Tim & I drove up to Cape Cod for the day, to attend a memorial service for my Aunt Betty in Harwich. The last time we were on the Cape was in the spring of 2009, far too long to be away, but so much has been going on in our lives the past few years.
It was so wonderful to see and hug my uncle (my mother’s brother) again, and two of my cousins. Two of my mother’s cousins were also there with their wives. We had some great conversations with them all about fond memories and genealogical discoveries. And my grandparents’ elderly neighbors from across the street were there, too.
As I mentioned before, my Aunt Betty was a woman of very strong faith, and a lovely, gracious, generous lady. I think she would have been pleased with the simple memorial her son arranged for her. On a table in front of the altar there was a picture of her, a single rose in a vase, a pencil, and her Bible, complete with her notes in the margins and many underlined scriptures. My uncle recalled how much she loved roses and how he made sure she received one for every birthday and every wedding anniversary. And he felt the pencil was a fitting token of her love of writing.
After the reception Tim & I went to the cemetery at the First Congregational Church in Harwich, where a number of my ancestors, my grandparents and my mother lie buried. I left them each a white rose from the bouquet we were given to take home after the service. Of course there were tears, there had been tears off and on all day, but also a deep feeling of peace and connection.
We couldn’t leave the Cape without visiting the sea, and so decided to go to the West Dennis Beach, and there felt anew the truth of Isak Dinesen’s words, “The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.” The first picture is looking southwest over Nantucket Sound, the second is a bit of the wrack line, and the third is seagull footprints in the sand.
The Moss family loves everything green. Kelly and Hunter and their children Willow and Sage own the Green Is King Factory. They turn their precious blue and yellow finds into, you guessed it, green. It’s hard to keep up with the demand. Artists use a lot of green! From the gentle yellow-green buds of spring to the deep shades of the forest, the Moss family can have an artist’s favorite green within 24 hours (and yes, express delivery is available).
~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making
So, the wondrous fairies have a factory in their village, too! Did you notice the cog railway for bringing the yellow down to the factory?
What a blessing our in-home caregiver, Chelsea, has turned out to be! She spent Monday in the hospital keeping Auntie company. Thank you so much, Chelsea! You are truly a godsend!
On a somber note, I received some sad news yesterday, my cousin Matt called to let me know that his mother, my Aunt Betty, died unexpectedly Friday evening. She had enjoyed her last day of life, taking a wonderful long walk with her husband, my Uncle Dave, and seemed fine. But after dinner she collapsed and the paramedics were summoned – she was 80 years old. Matt and I talked for over an hour on the phone, shedding a few tears and sending hugs back and forth, sharing what happy memories came into our minds. Tim & I had sent her some organic roses in May for her 80th birthday and she told us their fragrance reminded her of romantic rose gardens from the past on Cape Cod. Aunt Betty was a woman of strong faith, a lovely, gracious, lady.
If I were to walk this way Hand in hand with Grief, I should mark that maple-spray Coming into leaf. I should note how the old burrs Rot upon the ground. Yes, though Grief should know me hers While the world goes round, It could not in truth be said This was lost on me: A rock-maple showing red, Burrs beneath a tree.
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
(The Wood Road)