New Lights Preacher

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“A Roadside Sermon” by John Pettie

An inclination to change religions or to split from a denomination because of disagreements over doctrine seems to be a common thread in the lives of many of my ancestors, and many of Tim’s ancestors as well. One example would be my 6th-great-grandfather.

Rev. Joshua Nickerson, son of Samuel and Hannah (Hall) Nickerson, was born 16 June 1719 in Harwich (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died in August 1791 in Tamworth (Carroll) New Hampshire. He married 30 July 1745 at Harwich, Thankful Eldridge, who was born 29 March 1728 in Harwich and died October 1813 in Ossipee (Carroll) New Hampshire, daughter of William and Thankful (Crowell) Eldridge.

On 23 May 1750, Joshua, age 30 and already the father of three children, was ordained as a preacher to the “New Lights.” In the 1740s a religious movement among Protestants, the Great Awakening, spread to New England, where Congregationalists became divided between the “New Lights,” who supported the evangelical revival and the “Old Lights,” who opposed what they viewed as excessive emotionalism in the preaching. These preachers traveled from one congregation to another and criticized the local clergy. Perhaps we can imagine Joshua imitating the style of the English open air preacher, George Whitefield, who was known for gesturing dramatically, “sometimes weeping openly or thundering out threats of hellfire-and-brimstone,” and for turning a “sermon into a gripping theatrical performance.”

Joshua & Thankful were the parents of fourteen children, remarkably, all of them survived into adulthood:

1. Rebecca Nickerson, born 3 June 1746 in Harwich, died 10 November 1842 in Searsport (Waldo) Maine. She married in 1766 at Exeter (Rockingham) New Hampshire, Maj. Winthrop Smart, who was born 22 October 1742 in Epping (Rockingham) New Hampshire and died in 1814 in Prospect (Waldo) Maine, son of Joseph and Mary (—) Smart.

2. Elisabeth Nickerson, born 22 July 1747 in Harwich, died 21 August 1828. She married 31 October 1765 in Harwich, Lt. Thomas Burgess, who was born in 1748 and died 11 February 1816, son of Thomas and Mary (Covell) Burgess.

3. Reuben Nickerson, born 24 January 1749 in Harwich, died 1828 in Ohio. He married 31 December 1767 in Harwich, Anna Eldridge, who was born 3 March 1747 in Harwich and died 18 July 1860 in Swanville (Waldo) Maine, daughter of Reuben and Jerusha (O’Kelley) Eldridge.

4. Thankful Nickerson (my 5th-great-grandmother), born 17 November 1751 in Harwich, died in 1838. She married 25 December 1773 in Harwich, Isaac Weekes, who was born there 11 April 1747 and died 12 July 1792 in New Hampshire, son of Ammiel and Phebe (Small) Weekes. Thankful & Isaac were the parents of four children.

5. Jemima Nickerson, born 11 September 1753 in Harwich, died there in 1780. She married 29 January 1773 in Harwich, Jonathan Burgess, who was born 15 February 1748 in Harwich, and died there 25 October 1826, son of Thomas and Mary (Covell) Burgess.

6. Joshua Nickerson, born 15 November 1755 in Harwich, died 25 December 1842 in Washington (Allen) Indiana.

7. Mehitable Nickerson, born 20 September 1757 in Harwich, died 10 November 1822. She married 22 July 1775 in Chatham (Barnstable) Massachusetts, Ammiel Weekes, who was born 11 January 1754 in Harwich and died there 7 October 1787, son of Ammiel and Phebe (Small) Weekes.

8. Sheber Nickerson, born about 1759, died about 1873 in Maine. He married 27 February 1783 in Harwich, Esther Ellis, who was born 21 December 1763 in Harwich.

9. Miriam Nickerson, born 15 February 1764 in Harwich, died 19 August 1812 in Swanville. She married (as her first husband) 16 June 1782 in New Hampshire, Josiah Parsons, who was born 15 June 1769 in Northampton (Hampshire) Massachusetts. Miriam married (as her second husband and as his second wife) 23 February 1802 in New Hampshire, Jacob Eames, who was born 10 March 1754 in Wilmington (Middlesex) Massachusetts and died 7 November 1851 in Swanville.

10. Drusilla Nickerson, born about 1765 in Harwich, died 28 March 1857 in Albany (Carroll) New Hampshire. She married Dea. Daniel Head, who was born 11 August 1762 in Canterbury (Merrimack) New Hampshire and died 20 July 1836 in Tamworth.

11. Hannah Nickerson, born about 1765 in Harwich. She married 9 October 1788 in Tamworth, Enoch Ellis, who was born 29 April 1766 in Harwich.

12. Aaron Nickerson, born about 1766, died 27 December 1818 in Maine. He married Mehitable Nickerson, who was born about 1770.

13. Deborah Nickerson, born about 1766. She married Jeremiah Eldridge, who was born about 1760, son of Reuben and Jerusha (O’Kelley) Eldridge.

14. Jonathan Nickerson, born 31 December 1771 in Harwich, died 2 June 1858 in Tamworth. He married 10 January 1793 in Tamworth, Judith Blaisdell, who was born 15 August 1765 in Salisbury (Merrimack) New Hampshire and died 28 October 1857 in Albany.

a single evergreen sapling

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“Helga Ancher Sitting by the Christmas Tree” by Anna Ancher

Even though the use of evergreens dates back to the Greeks and Romans, the use of the holiday tree is said to have originated in the eighth century Germany. Legend has it that the Christian St. Boniface was trying to convert a group of Druids. Try as he might, though, he couldn’t convince them that the oak tree was neither sacred nor invincible. In desperation, he finally cut one down. When the tree fell, it crushed everything in its path but a single evergreen sapling. Boniface declared it a miracle, then proclaimed that the fir tree belonged to the Christ-child. After that, trees were brought into homes as holiday decorations. It wasn’t until the sixteenth century, however, that the Germans thought to decorate the branches. Some historians say that the first ornaments — fruit, nuts, and cookies — were used as offerings to thank the spirit of the tree.
~ Dorothy Morrison
(Yule: A Celebration of Light & Warmth)

safely gathered in

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“The Harvest” by Frederick Morgan

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of Harvest-home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
~ Henry Alford
(The Poetical Works of Henry Alford)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Warren Freeman & Elisabeth Weekes

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Elisabeth (Weekes) Freeman and the oldest four of her five children, Warren, Rosilla, Ambrose and Elisabeth ~ early evidence of what became known as the Freeman frown

Cousins marrying cousins, close or distant, was very common on Cape Cod and throughout New England, which makes figuring out relationships tricky but utterly fascinating. I’ve tried my best to figure out the tangled roots and shoots from my 3rd-great-grandparents!

Warren Freeman, a watchmaker, son of Thomas and Roxanna (Cash) Freeman, was born 25 July 1814 in Harwich (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died there 16 September 1894. He married (as his second wife) 12 June 1848 in Harwich, his double fourth cousin, Elisabeth Weekes, who was born 6 November 1822 in Harwich, and died there 18 September 1908, daughter of Isaac and Elisabeth (Allen) Weekes.

Warren married (as his first wife) in December 1836, his double fourth cousin, Priscilla E. Long, who was born 22 October 1817 and died 7 December 1846 in Harwich, daughter of Isaac and Esther (Ellis) Long. Warren & Priscilla shared two sets of 3rd-great-grandparents, Joshua and Mary (Cole) Hopkins and Edward and Mary (Woodman) Small.

A year and a half after Priscilla died, Warren married Elisabeth, Priscilla’s half third cousin. Elisabeth’s and Priscilla’s great-grandmothers, Hannah (Paine) Allen and Jane (Small) Long, were half sisters, both daughters of Hannah (Hopkins) (Paine) Smalley by two different fathers.

Warren & Elisabeth were also double fourth cousins, sharing the same two sets of 3rd-great-grandparents, Joshua and Mary (Cole) Hopkins and Edward and Mary (Woodman) Small.

On the 1870 Federal Census, Warren was recorded as living in Dennis Port, age 55, a “huckster”, with real estate valued at $5000 and a personal state of $3000. Warren is buried with both his wives and two of his children in the First Congregational Church Cemetery in Harwich.

Priscilla & Warren were the parents of two children:

1. Thomas Freeman, a blacksmith who was born 15 August 1837 in Harwich. He married Rosilla F. Allen.

2. Clemantina Freeman, born 26 March 1842 in Harwich, died 24 May 1858, age 16. Clemantina was buried next to her mother, Priscilla E. (Long) Freeman, in the First Congregational Church Cemetery.

Elisabeth & Warren were the parents of five children (all born in Harwich), but they only had one grandchild together, and only one great-grandchild:

1. Elisabeth Emma “Lizzie” Freeman (my 2nd-great-grandmother), born 4 September 1851, died 4 October 1876 in Harwich, age 25. She married 5 July 1874 in Harwich, Capt. Martin Edward Thompson, who was born 4 August 1850 in Dennis and died in 1928, son of Martin and Ann Isabella (Hughs) Thompson. When Elisabeth died her 18-month-old son was left without his mother. She lies buried in Swan Lake Cemetery in Dennis.

2. Warren Wallace Freeman, born 3 July 1853, died 27 August 1868, age 15. Warren lies buried with his parents in the First Congregational Church Cemetery.

3. Rosilla Ida “Rosie” Freeman, born 6 March 1856, died 18 March 1923, age 67. She married 23 February 1882 in Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, Capt. Martin Edward Thompson, who was born 4 August 1850 in Dennis and died in 1928, widower of her sister, Elisabeth, and son of Martin and Ann Isabella (Hughs) Thompson. Rosie raised her nephew but never had children of her own. She also lies buried in Swan Lake Cemetery.

4. Ambrose Eldridge Freeman, born 21 April 1858, died 1944 in Boston, age 83. Ambrose was a confirmed bachelor with a fondness for alcohol. His little child’s rocking chair was given to Jonathan Freeman Rodgers by his great-grandmother, Emma Freeman (Thompson) White, who was Ambrose’s grandniece. The gift was made following a little episode in Jonathan’s young toddler life. One day his mother, absent mindedly kept giving him sips of a “Cape Codder” cocktail she was enjoying with her grandparents. His great-grandmother was the first to notice that Jon was getting a little tipsy, and made the observation that he was the spit and image of Uncle Ambrose! Ambrose lies buried with his parents in the First Congregational Church Cemetery.

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Uncle Ed & Aunt Flora

5. Susan Flora “Susie” Freeman, born 22 March 1864, died 7 May 1963 at Woods Hole, age 99. She married 19 February 1891, Edward Ellsworth “Eddie” Swift, who was born 25 August 1861 in Falmouth (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died in May 1964, age 102, son of Ezekiel Eldridge and Lucy G. (Thompson) Swift.

Susie & Eddie lived at 10 School St., Woods Hole, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. They had no children so my grandparents (along with my great-grandparents) moved into their house and cared for them there in their old age. My grandmother was Susie’s (Flora’s) grandniece. I well remember playing as a very small child in the yard there while visiting my grandparents and great-grandparents and 2nd great-granduncle and aunt! The lawn stretched down a hill to a harbor (perhaps a marina?), and the barns were full of sea crafts. Uncle Ed lived to be 102, and died when I was 7 years old.

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Uncle Ed, 95, meeting his 2nd-great-grandneice, Barbara, 1957

In the picture above, I am being held by my 2nd great-granduncle Ed! By the time I was 2, Uncle Ed was bedridden and my grandmother would put me on his bed for a visit. Uncle Ed would ask, “And how old are you, Barbara?” I would bravely hold up two fingers while staring at his long white beard.

The following is from the Cape Cod Standard Times:

Falmouth Pair Married 70 Years
[PHOTO]
Caption: Mr. and Mrs. Edward E. Swift of Woods Hole show their marriage certificate dated Feb. 19, 1891. The Swifts are looking forward to their 70th anniversary celebration, to be shared with family and friends.

Swifts to Observe 70th Anniversary
by Robert G. Elphick, Cape Cod Standard Times Staff Writer

Barbara, 4, arriving for the party
Barbara, 4, arriving for the party

WOODS HOLE, Feb. 3–A candy sailing ship shall cruise across a pastry map of Cape Cod, atop a cake to be baked in affectionate observance of a very rare occasion. The 70th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Ellsworth Swift of School Street. Mrs. Carlyle R. Hayes of Middle Street, locally noted cake baker and old friend of the Swifts, will have the masterpiece ready for the anniversary observance on Feb. 19.

Mr. Swift will be 100 years old on Aug. 25. Mrs. Swift will be 97 next month. Though confined to their antique-and-memory filled home overlooking Eel Pond, they remain articulate, cheerful and endowed with quick humor and ready memory.

“I used to sail a lot,” Mr. Swift recalled, citing trophies in Class B, for skill and speed with the 13-foot spritsail boats. While on the subject of boats and ships, he said his great uncle Elijah Swift ran the British blockade during the War of 1812, and in more peaceful times planted the elms that today tower above Falmouth’s Village Green.

Were Shipbuilders
“Both my grandfathers were ship builders,” Mr. Swift added. Ezekiel Swift, he said, built whaling ships in Woods Hole, and Marshall Grew built other wooden ships for iron men in New Bedford.

Mrs. Swift is the former Flora Susan Freeman of Harwich. The Swift’s wedding certificate, larger and more elaborate than those issued today, states that the pair were married by the Rev. R. M. Wilkins, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church on Feb. 19, 1891, in South Harwich. The 70th anniversary observance will be at the Swift’s home, and will be limited to family and close friends.

Family includes the Swift’s grandniece, Mrs. John E. White, who came from West Harwich last September to care for the Swifts and her parents, Captain and Mrs. Martin Thompson. The Thompsons came to live with the Swifts five years ago.

Captain Thompson is a nephew of Mr. Swift. Until recently he has helped to run the hardware and ship’s chandler’s shop at the rear of the Swift’s home. The antique wooden sign over the shop entrance reads “Edward E. Swift, Dealer in Hardware, Cordage, Paints, Oil, Glass, and Galvanized Nails and Specialty.” The shop is rarely opened any more. Like the Swifts themselves, it is a survivor from another age.

Mrs. White said she is happy to be able to live with the Swifts and her parents and take care of them. “My parents observed their 61st wedding anniversary Wednesday,” Mrs. White commented. “My son is in the service and my daughter is at the University of Connecticut, so I have no one else to care for now, except my husband, of course. He’s a land surveyor and commutes daily to his office in West Harwich.”

Presented Symbol
In 1956 Falmouth selectmen presented Mr. Swift with the cane marking him as the town’s oldest native resident. It was reported at the time that this was “a distinction that greatly pleased him.” The canes were made available to all Massachusetts towns many years ago by a Boston newspaper, to be handed down from one senior citizen to another.

“I enjoy books very much these days,” Mr. Swift commented. Each night Mr. and Mrs. White take turns reading aloud to the Swifts. “We are on Washington Irving now,” Mrs. White interjected. “Next we will do Dickens.”

Mr. Swift recalled that his middle name of Ellsworth was in honor of a relative who was serving at the time in the Civil War. He also remembered that he was born in Shiverick House when it was located in the parking lot that adjoins his present home–a short move to make in a century. He was graduated from Lawrence Academy, now the Falmouth USO and Legion Hall. In 1880, he then joined his father as E. Swift and Son, contractors, and in 1882 built the former Fay residence, now owned by the Oceanographic Institution. He also built the Congregational Church in Woods Hole during the 1880s, as well as many other structures long since passed into oblivion.

Open Shop
The elder Swift died in 1909. The business was continued by his son until a shortage of labor and materials in World War I ended building operations. Mr. Swift remembers that we then opened his ship chandler’s shop at the rear of his home and has operated it until recent years, most recently with the assistance of Captain Thompson.

Mr. Swift was for many years clerk of the Church of the Messiah in Woods Hole, and remains today as clerk emeritus. A frequent visitor is the rector, the Rev. Mason Wilson. Additional friends will certainly be on hand Feb. 19 to mark a very special occasion and incidentally share in the enjoyment of a very special cake.

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Martin Freeman Thompson and his uncle, Edward Ellsworth Swift

The following is from the WHOI [Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute] Historic Structures Survey, Swift House, 10 School St, constructed 1834, acquired by WHOI 1965:

Ezekiel Swift built the house and its two barns around 1834. The house was handed down through the years from his son, to his grandson, Eddie Swift, who was a well known character in Woods Hole. Eddie and his father formalized the family carpentry trade into a business known as E. E. Swift and Son in the late 1800s. The family building business survived until Eddie decided to open a hardware store in the barn behind the house. Eddie, who lived to be 103, and the hardware store survived into the 1960s. WHOI purchased the property on New Year’s Eve of 1964 and has used both the house and the barns since then. The house has served as offices for the Applied Oceanography group, now Ocean Engineering, and as home for other elements of departments.

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back of picture above

The following is from a sign by a Woods Hole Spritsail Boat made by Edward Swift, donated to Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Connecticut, by Mr. & Mrs. John E. White:

Never launched or given her final coats of paint, this craft was built about 1910, and between that time and 1968 when it was given to this museum, the boat and the shop in which she was built were left essentially undisturbed, thus her pristine condition. Additional information is contained in the adjoining article excerpted from Skipper magazine. Length 13’4”, Beam 6′. Those Handy Little BCats by H.V.R. Palmer, Jr.

Settlers of Albion, New York

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John Hubbard (1804-1883)

These portraits of Tim’s 3rd-great-grandparents are of the oldest generation we currently have in our possession.

John Hubbard, son of Joseph and Mabel (Sutlief) Hubbard, was born 27 December 1804 in (Jefferson) New York, and died 1 August 1883 in Albion (Orleans) New York. He married 28 January 1828 in Clarkson (Monroe) New York, Lydia P. Randolph, who was born 24 March 1807, probably in Canada, and died 1 February 1901 in Albion, daughter of Abram and Jane (Koyl) Randolph.

The following is from The Orleans Republican:

Death of an Old Settler: John Hubbard, who was, we think, at the time of his death, the oldest resident in what is now the village of Albion, died at his residence on Clinton street, on Sunday evening. His last sickness was only of a few days duration. He gradually failed after the death of a dearly loved grandson, Johnnie D, aged 16 years, only son of DB and Emma P Hubbard, which occurred July 25, 1883. The deceased was born in Jefferson county December 27, 1804, and came to Albion in the fall of 1824. On the 28th of January, 1828, he was married to Lydia P Randolph, by whom he had six children, one son and five daughters. Of these four are now living — Jennie F, now Mrs. GA Starkweather; Eva L Hubbard, now Mrs. John B Hubbard; DB Hubbard, and Fannie E Hubbard. Miss A Louise Hubbard died in 1850 and another daughter, Mrs. Laura A Allen, died March 28, 1883. Mr. Hubbard followed the business of wagon making for many years, but retired from active business some time ago. He was well known in the community in which he had so long resided and had the respect of all who knew him.

Lydia P. (Randolph) Hubbard (1807-1901)
Lydia P. Randolph (1807-1901)

The 1880 Census states that Lydia was born in Canada and that her parents were born in Vermont. However, the 1900 Federal Census states that Lydia, age 93, was born “Canada/English” and that her parents were born “Canada/English” and that she immigrated in 1820, when she was about 13 years old. By 1892, after being widowed, Lydia was living with her son DB and his family in Albion, 13 Clinton St., where she died 1 February 1901. Boxes of her poetry were found in the Provincetown, Massachusetts house belonging to the husband (Karl Freeman Rodgers) of her great-granddaughter, Allegra Estelle (Hamilton) (Rodgers) Lloyd. John and Lydia are buried in Lot #111, Beech Avenue, Mount Albion Cemetery, Albion, New York.

John & Lydia were the parents of six children:

1. Jane F. “Jenny” Hubbard, born 9 September 1829 in Albion, died 27 September 1919. She married 2 November 1853, Rev. George A. Starkweather, who was born 4 December 1828 and died 8 October 1910. They are buried in the lot adjoining Lot #955, Clematis Path, Mount Albion Cemetery. They were the parents of a daughter.

2. Laura Amelia Hubbard, born 10 April 1831, died 28 March 1883. She married 12 June 1854, Tunis B. Allen.

3. Louisa Amanda Hubbard, born 25 January 1835, died 12 July 1850, age 15. She is buried in Lot #111, Beech Avenue, Mount Albion Cemetery.

4. Eveline Hubbard, born 7 December 1839 in Albion, died 8 March 1903 in Holly, New York. She married (as her first husband) (—) Braman, and she then married (as her second husband) John B. Hubbard, who was born May 1836 and died 28 April 1888. Eveline was a seamstress. She and John are buried in the lot adjoining Lot #955, Clematis Path, Mount Albion Cemetery.

5. Delorma Brown “DB” Hubbard (Tim’s 2nd-great-grandfather), born 8 May 1842 in Albion, died there 21 March 1915. He married 6 February 1866 in Marian (Wayne) New York, Emma Pridmore, who was born 11 January 1844 in Great Dalby (Leicestershire) England and died 7 April 1917. DB & Emma were the parents of three children, and lie buried in Lot #955, Clematis Path, Mount Albion Cemetery.

6. Frances E. “Fannie” Hubbard, born 15 February 1846 in Albion, died there 23 September 1883. She is buried in Lot #111, Beech Avenue, Mount Albion Cemetery.

We visited Mount Albion Cemetery in Albion, New York, on a research trip we took with Tim’s aunt Delorma many years ago. Unfortunately the pictures taken with a disposable camera (remember those?) didn’t come out well so we hope to return one day, now that we have a much better camera. Tim’s father, grandparents, great-grandparents, 2nd-great-grandparents and 3rd-great-grandparents (John & Lydia) are buried there.