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)

Dea. John Kyle from Lochgilphead, Scotland

10.23.19 ~ Tim and Aunt Delorma behind the gravestones of their ancestors,
John & Mary Kyle ~ Old Cemetery on the Plains, Windham, New Hampshire

Another one of Tim’s grandmother’s lines goes back to Scotland. A perfect excuse to spend a lovely autumn afternoon with Tim’s aunt in New Hampshire, locating the gravestones of their ancestors, while enjoying the gorgeous fall colors en route.

Allegra Estelle Hamilton 1900-1992
Gertrude Mabel “Gertie” Hubbard 1874-1965
Delorma Brown “DB” Hubbard 1842-1915
Lydia P. Randolph 1807-1901
Jane Koyl 1779-1870
Ephraim Koyl 1753-1838
Dea. John Kyle c. 1722-1769
Dea. John Kyle c. 1682-1762

10.23.19 ~ John & Mary Kyle, Scottish immigrants

Fortunately the Find A Grave website provided some older and much clearer photographs of these tombstones and I was able to identify them by matching up the markings that could be made out. And thankfully, the original epitaphs were recorded there, as well.

HERE LYES THE BODY OF
MR. JOHN KYLE HE DIED
MAY 12th 1762 AGED 80
YEARS

Here lies the
Body of Mrs.
Mary Kyle, Wife
of Deacon John
Kyle Who Died
January ye 8th
1778 Aged –
84 years –

The following is from The History of Windham in New Hampshire by Leonard Allison Morrison, (Boston, Massachusetts: Cupples, Upham & Co., 1883), 68, 615, 616

KYLE FAMILY

John Kyle, of Scotch race, was a settler here previous to 1740, and lived near J.-L. Cottle’s. He m. Mary —, who d. Jan. 8, 1778, æ. 84 yrs.; he d. May 12, 1762, æ. 80 yrs. Child:—

Dea. John, who succeeded him on the farm; m. Agnes —; made an elder during the pastorate of Rev. William Johnston; date of death not known; was taxed as late as 1780.

Children, b. Windham: —
Ephraim2, b. July 1, 1753. (See Revolutionary history, p. 68.)
William
2, b. Aug. 8, 1755.
Mary
2, insane, and provided for by the town.
Janet
2, insane, and provided for by the town.

WINDHAM MEN IN THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL

Capt. Elisha Woodbury’s company, Colonel Stark’s regiment
CASUALTIES AND LOSSES
Ephraim Kyle, 1 gun and bayonet, £2, 2s.

Tim’s 7th-great-grandfather, John Kyle was born about 1682 in the small village of Lochgilphead, Scotland and was an original settler of Windham, New Hampshire.

His grandson, Tim’s 5th-great-grandfather, Ephraim Koyl, son of John and Agnes (—) Kyle, was born 1 July 1753 in Windham (Rockingham) New Hampshire, and died 25 August 1838 in Kitley, Johnson District, Upper Canada [now Elizabethtown-Kitley Twp. (Leeds) Ontario]. He married in Londonderry (Rockingham) New Hampshire (as his first wife and as her second husband),

Abigail (Reading) Kincaid, who was born 17 February 1753 in Portsmouth (Rockingham) New Hampshire, and died 11 April 1810 in Kitley, daughter of John and Mary (—) Redding.

Abigail had married (as her first husband) John M. Kincaid, who died in the 16 August 1777 (Revolutionary War) Battle of Bennington while serving with Ephraim. The Americans successfully defended colonial military stores against a British raiding party. After Abigail married Ephraim they moved to Canada about 1792, and had settled on Irish Creek, near a place called Koyl’s Bridge, in Kitley by 1803. After Abigail died, Ephraim married a second, unidentified wife, who died in Kitley, 6 September 1844.

Ephraim & Abigail were the parents of seven children. The firstborn, Jane Koyl, was Tim’s 4th-great-grandmother. She was born 4 April 1779 in Manchester (Bennington) Vermont, and died 19 October 1870 in Albion (Orleans) New York. She married (as her first husband) Abram Randolph, son of Benjamin Randolph & Jane Long, on 15 January 1797, and bore him eleven children. Abram died on 18 November 1824 and she then married (as her second husband) David Coombs, on 25 February 1847.

“The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, June 17, 1775”
by John Trumbull

Private Ephraim fought in the Battle of Bunker’s Hill near the beginning of the Revolutionary War. He was wounded by a musket ball which entered his jaw and lodged in his neck, and was later removed, leaving a scar. As he was being carried off the battlefield his gun and bayonet were taken from him, for which he was later given some monetary compensation. Promoted to sergeant, Ephraim went on to fight in the Battle of Bennington two years later.

The Battle of Bennington was a battle of the American Revolutionary War, part of the Saratoga campaign, that took place on August 16, 1777, in Walloomsac, New York, about 10 miles from its namesake Bennington, Vermont. ~ Wikipedia

Apparently the name Kyle was used in the United States, but changed to Koyl when the family moved to Canada. Ephraim is listed under both spellings in his Revolutionary War pension files. It’s puzzling why Ephraim decided to move to Canada after fighting on the American side of the Revolution.

Saddle & Pillion Burial Ground

10.10.17 ~ Sandwich, Massachusetts ~ trailhead

When I was a small child developing a curiosity about family history, my grandmother told me about her 8th-great-grandfather, Edmund Freeman, who was buried with his second wife Elizabeth, in the Saddle & Pillion graves in Sandwich. Over the years I have occasionally tried to locate these graves but couldn’t make sense of any description of where in Sandwich they were located. But at long last, I stumbled across a blog, Historical Tid-Bits of Cape Cod’s Oldest Town, which had a link to a map! Maps (pictures) I can understand! And so last week, while visiting Cape Cod, my sister and I drove right up to the beginning of a short trail that led us to the site in the woods.

10.10.17 ~ Sandwich, Massachusetts ~ Saddle & Pillion Cemetery

Freeman settled on his homestead about a mile and a quarter east of the present Town Hall on the sloping land leading from what is now Tupper Road down to the Cape Cod Canal. (Most of the former Freeman land is now occupied by the NRG power plant.) They lived out their lives here and when Elizabeth passed away on February 14, 1676, Edmond buried her on a hill on their farm. He marked her grave with a large stone likening to a pillion (a British term for the seat behind the saddle on a horse). With foresight, Edmond also positioned a large stone that resembled a saddle to be used as a monument for his own grave. Family tradition tells us that the headstones reminded Edmund of the early years in Sandwich when he and Elizabeth traveled by horseback over the fields of their farm. Edmund Freeman died in 1682 and was buried beside Elizabeth, the longer stone, “the saddle,” was placed over his grave.

The burial place became known as the Saddle and Pillion Cemetery and is the oldest burying ground in Sandwich. Bronze plaques were added to these stones in 1910 by their descendants.
~ Sandwich Historical Commission website

My 10th-great-grandfather, Edmund Freeman, was baptized 25 July 1596 at Pulborough, Sussex, England, and died before 2 November 1682 in Sandwich (Barnstable) Massachusetts. He married (as his first wife) 16 June 1617 in Cowford, Sussex, England, Bennett Hodsoll, who was buried at Pulborough 12 April 1630.

By 1635, Edmund married (as his second wife) Elizabeth (—), who was born about 1600, and died 14 February 1676 in Sandwich.

Edmund, his second wife Elizabeth, and Alice, Edmund, Elizabeth and John, his surviving children from his first marriage, arrived in America in 1635 on the ship Abigail. At first they lived in Saugus (now Lynn) and soon moved to Sandwich in 1637. Edmund was a farmer and was one of the ten original settlers of Sandwich, presumably not including in the count their wives and children.

Edmund & Bennett were the parents of six children:

1. Alice Freeman, baptized 4 April 1619 at Pulborough, died 24 April 1651 in Plymouth (Plymouth) Massachusetts. She married (as his first wife) 24 November 1639, in Sandwich, Dea. William Paddy, who was born about 1600 and died 24 August 1658 in Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts. Alice & William were the parents of six children.

2. Edmund Freeman, baptized 26 November 1620 at Billingshurst, Sussex, England, died 29 March 1673. He married (as his first wife) 22 April 1646, Rebecca Prence, who was born before 22 May 1627 and died before 23 March 1648, daughter of Gov. Thomas and Patience (Brewster) Prence. Edmund & Rebecca were the parents of two daughters. Edmund married (as his second wife) 18 July 1651 in Sandwich, Margaret Perry, who was born about 1624 and died 5 November 1688 in Sandwich, daughter of Edmund and Sarah (Crowell) Perry. Edmund & Margaret were the parents of six children.

3. Bennett Freeman, baptized 20 January 1621 at Billingshurst, died before 13 January 1634, age 12.

4. Elizabeth Freeman, baptized 11 April 1624 at Billingshurst, died 24 June 1692 in Rochester (Plymouth) Massachusetts. She married by 1644, Lt. John Ellis, who was born 14 September 1623 in England and died about 1676 in Sandwich. John was censured to be whipped at a public post for committing uncleanness with Elizabeth before their marriage. Elizabeth had to stand by and observe the whipping. Elizabeth & John were the parents of seven children.

5. Maj. John Freeman (my 9th-great-grandfather), baptized 28 January 1627 in Billingshurst, died 28 October 1719 in Eastham (Barnstable) Massachusetts. He married 13 February 1650 in Eastham, Mercy Prence, who was born about 1631 and died 28 September 1711 in Eastham, daughter of Gov. Thomas and Patience (Brewster) Prence. John & Mercy were the parents of twelve children.

6. Nathaniel Freeman, baptized 2 September 1629 in Billingshurst, buried 12 September 1629 in Pulborough, only a few days old.

Edmund & Elizabeth were the parents of a daughter:

1. Mary Freeman, born about 1636, died 5 November 1688 in Sandwich. She married about 1653, Edward Perry, who was born about 1630 and died 16 February 1695 in Sandwich. Mary & Edward were the parents of nine children.

Settlers of Albion, New York

JohnHubbard
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.

covered with boulders

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Winter is well over the half-way point and we’ve had no snow to show for it. After last winter’s record-breaking snowfall amounts this is a bit unsettling. We did have a lot of snow and power outages for that freak Halloween Nor’easter in October, but that was an autumn storm, not truly a winter storm… What strange weather.

2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Bulbs are coming up months too early. Witch hazel is blooming at Mystic Seaport. Tim & I went for a walk on Saturday at Haley Farm State Park, looking for photo opportunities. The birds were chirping away as if it was a sunny spring day! This time it was warm enough for my fingers to hold the camera and take 86 pictures. Perhaps I should have tried a landscape setting for a few of them. But I’m still getting used to holding it properly and finding the shutter button at the same time…

2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Caleb Haley of Haley Farm

Caleb Haley owned and farmed this land in Noank, Connecticut, and took on the daunting task of building stone walls between the pastures all over the property. The crumbling foundations of his house, stables and barns remain. In October of 1898, Walter Hill came from New York to visit his friend here and wrote an account of their time together. Excerpts following are from the Haley Farm Souvenir Book, found transcribed at the Groton History Online website.

2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

If there is any one thing in which my friend delights more than another, it is the works of improvement which he is carrying forward at Haley Farm, Long Point; so breakfast dispatched we, of course, drove at once to the locality of the improvement now going forward.
~ Walter Hill

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

It may be mentioned here, that the land in this vicinity and for miles in all directions is covered with boulders, boulders large and boulders small, sometimes ledges, but boulders in all shapes, boulders in all positions, boulders on boulders—everywhere. The first settlers simply removed or cleared the smaller rocks, such as a horse could easily drag out of the way, leaving hundreds of heavier ones half embedded in the soil in all directions.
~ Walter Hill

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Thus thousands upon thousands of acres of splendid soil have been fit for naught but cattle runs of natural pasturage. To clear such land of everything to obstruct the free running of a plow, is a herculean task and it is this wrestling with the stern face of nature, that I found to be the delight of my host. A forenoon spent in watching and assisting in the operations, found me deeply interested. A device called a “Stone-puller” was quite fetching, and was the invention of a near-by resident whom I was disappointed to learn had never realized much out of it, for without it, such operations as are here going forward, would be prohibited by the question of cost. Mr. H— has 428 acres of just such land as described; skirting the shores of L. I. Sound with deep coves running up on either side of his property; forming between them, Long Point, which is all included in the Haley Farm, with the exception of a tract on the extreme point, which is owned by parties who started to boom it for Summer cottage purposes, but came to a dead-lock with the town authorities regarding approaches, and who should bear their cost.
~ Walter Hill

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

According to the the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection website:

In 1963 efforts to protect the farm from being sold to developers began. The State of Connecticut agreed to match funds raised for the purchase of the farm. The Groton Open Space Commission led a successful fund raising effort that led to the purchase of the property. Haley Farm became an official Connecticut State Park in July of 1970.

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

We found several burls on the outstretched branches of this tree:

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

I think this is a private boathouse across the water.  I thought it looked especially cheerful and welcoming!

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

So we had a good time poking around our local historic “ruins” and enjoying the scenic views of Palmer Cove. It was nice enjoying a spring day in February, but I’m starting to get a little nervous about what weather we have in store for us this summer. For now, though, perhaps I can manage to stay in the present… It is what it is and what will be will be!

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

A York State Tramp

John Hubbard
John Hubbard (1804-1883)

No, not the man in this picture. This man is Tim’s great-great-great-grandfather, John Hubbard, a settler of Albion, New York. He and his wife, Lydia (Randolph) Hubbard, were the parents of four daughters and a son.

We have his personal copy of the Bible, with favorite scriptures cut out from a newspaper and glued on to the inside cover. And also some obituaries.

As I was carefully examining the deteriorating pages, a newspaper clipping fell out. After reading the article it made me wonder what about this particular story interested John Hubbard enough to cut it out and stick it in his Bible. The article also gives us a glimpse into life in the 1800s.

A YORK STATE TRAMP

Receives Reception That Is Known to Few Wanderers

New York World

A tramp had just arrived in Albany. Nothing curious about that, but this is a curious tramp. He does his own cooking and consequently enjoys his food. Chefs were rare in the region he was brought up in. He doesn’t collect grub or yearn for drink or freight cars. He has been tramping through our New York lake region, which Americans would know so well and admire so much if it were across the water; and he has a passion, a mania, for little country schoolhouses.

He may look like a dust storm in breeches, but something in his appearance gains him entrance. Perhaps he has seen better days. He sits on the dais and near the desk of “teacher,” an honor that used to be confined to clergymen, school committeemen, visitors of due pomposity, village bigwigs on examination day, and prize scholars, likely, if of the inferior sex, to have “the stuffing” rudely elicited from them at recess by athletic scorners of learning. There sits calmly the pulverulent [sic] one, listening with a twinkle in his eye to the artless droning of those wondering children, even having “the cheek to talk to teacher,” who actually lets him make speech before he goes. A “ripping” speech, the spoken-to say, and how can there be better judges? Does not every maundering bore, every Brother of the Ass, every solemn stumbling, hemming, long-winded sumph flatter himself that he can “make a few remarks” to “the children” and enrapture those victims of the vanity and loquacity of their elders? And this long-legged dust-man pleased them. “Talked like an educated man, did he,” says the president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union to Bill and Elizer Ann at supper: “must have fallen through the drink. I wonder at Miss Normal for permitting such a disreputable character to speak in a public school. There at least my darlings should be safe from contamination.”

On goes the dustman through the best sun-soaked days and noblest moonlit nights that ever shone. He breakfasts on his own bacon and coffee by rivers hazy with morning. On he plods, astounding and delighting schoolhouses, winning the scorn of passing wagoners for refusing a “lift.” At last he enters Albany, leaves off regretfully his career as a wandering scholar. For he is identified, presumably by the police, as John Huston Finley, who sports “a tilted trail proud as a cockerel’s rainbow tail;” who is laden with LL. D.’s and is a member of everything worth belonging to. There is no new compliment to pay him except to say that he knows how to plan and enjoy a vacation.

I found a John Huston Finley (1863-1940), but he was only 20 years old when John Hubbard died. Perhaps someone else tucked the article in the Bible after our John died. Or perhaps it was a very young Finley who had this adventure and this was one of the last things Hubbard cut out of the paper. But safe to say, the article was of interest to somebody!

Gallows Lane

Map & Compass flag and treasure box

Earlier today Beverly and I went hiking in the woods near Gallows Lane in New London. She was setting out flags and prizes hidden in the woods for the thirty children who will be coming to her Map & Compass activity on Saturday. The children have to use a map of the woods and a compass to locate eight places marked by the flags. Each location has a plastic box filled with a little treasures. They bring back one treasure from each box to prove they found each of the flags. (They get to keep the treasures…) I think the first kid back from the expedition gets another prize, too. It took us a couple of hours to set it all up, so they’ll be having a long walk and an adventure, too, if they manage to find them all!

The cliff where Sarah Bramble was hung from the gallows…

One might wonder how a road would come to be designated with such a morbid name. Gallows Lane. Well, it was a terrible thing that happened there. A servant woman named Sarah Bramble was executed by hanging off the cliff here in 1753. She had been convicted of murdering her illegitimate newborn daughter. So far I haven’t found out too much about her, but what I have found out makes me more curious than ever about her life.

November 21st, 1753, Sarah Bramble was executed in a cross highway that leads out of the main road to Norwich, about two miles north of the town plot. This path has ever since been known as Gallows Lane. It is a rugged, wild and dreary road, even at the present day. The fearful machine was erected in the highest part of the road, and all the hills and ledges around must have been covered with the spectators. It was computed that 10,000 assembled on this occasion; some of them probably came twenty or thirty miles to witness this repulsive exhibition. The gloom of the weather added another dismal feature to the scene, a drizzly rain continuing most of the day.

This is the only public execution of any white person that ever took place in New London. The crime of the unhappy woman was the murder of her infant illegitimate child, on the day of its birth. It was committed in April, 1752, and she was tried by the superior court the next September. But the jury disagreeing in their verdict, she was kept imprisoned another year, and sentenced October 3d, 1753. She declined hearing the sermon intended for her benefit, which was preached by Rev. Mr. Jewett, before the execution.

Frances Manwaring Caulkins, History of New London, Connecticut: From the First Survey of the Coast in 1612, to 1852, (Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Case, Tiffany & Company, 1852), 468

Sunlight through the trees and spilling over the wall…

[September 28, 1753] “at the meeting house to hear the Tryal of Sarah Bramble for murdr of her Bastard Child in March 1752.  Court Sat by Candle light.”
[October 1, 1753] “the Jury brot in their verdict & found Sarah Bramble Guilty of Murdering her Bastard Child a female in march 1752.”
[October 3, 1753] “Sarah Bramble Received Sentance of Death ys Day”
[October 24, 1753] “went to Lectureto hear Mr Jewit who pr to Sarah Bramble &c.”
[November 7, 1753] “in the aftern att Lecture. Mr Jewit preacht. the Sermon Composed to be pr to Sarah Bramble, but she declined Coming to hear itt, a Large Congregation.”
[November 21, 1753] “Misty & Rain moderately. S: Bramble. I was at home foren. in the aftern I Rid up to the Cross Highway abve Jno Bolles to See Sarah Bramble Executed for the Murdering her Bastard Child in march last was a year Since. She was hanged at 3 Clock. a Crowd of Spectators of all sexes & nations yt are among us from the neighbouring Towns as well as this. Judged to be Ten Thousand. it Rained moderately most of the day.”

Joshua Hempstead, Diary of Joshua Hempstead of New London, Connecticut (New London, Connecticut: New London County Historical Society, 1901), 616-619

Stone walls in the woods…

It strikes me how matter-of-fact and unemotional Hempstead is about this woman’s trial and execution. He doesn’t say one way or the other what he thinks about the matter. Why did the jury disagree on a verdict? Who was the father of Sarah Bramble’s child? Didn’t he have some responsibility for what happened? Was the father possibly her employer? I can’t help feeling she was probably abandoned and forced to bear the blame for the “fornication.” And why did she murder her baby, if she did? Did she want to spare it the pain of a lifetime of being referred to and excluded as a Bastard? Did she feel cornered, like there was no other way out? Honestly, I could see myself reasoning that way if I had found myself in that situation in that time period. Maybe she was suicidal…

There’s a lot of history in these woods, which are still claiming back the land the early settlers turned into farms and then abandoned when they moved westward. Today we found a pen made of stones for ewes and their lambs. The rocks were low enough for the mother sheep to leave to find food and return, but high enough to keep the lambs safe inside. Amazing how shepherds knew to build such an enclosure and how the sheep made use of it, instinctively knowing it was just what they needed for a perfect nursery!

We also found a pretty little princess pine forest…

Enchanting princess pine forest…

Avery Point

9.15.10 ~ Beach Pond

Yesterday Janet and I decided to take a walk around the Avery Point campus of the University of Connecticut, here in Groton. On our way to the entrance of the campus we spotted a white heron and I tried to get a picture of it… When I inadvertently got too close, it decided to fly over to the other side of the salt pond.

Avery Point was named for Captain James Avery (1620-1700), who was born in England, came to the colonies with his father, fought in King Philip’s War, and was an early settler of New London and Groton, Connecticut.

The college campus itself was originally a 70 acre seaside estate owned by Commodore Morton F. Plant (1852-1918), a yachtsman and financier, who in 1915, was noted for giving $1,125,000 to the founding of Connecticut College for Women (now Connecticut College) in New London. Plant’s property on Avery Point was eventually acquired by the University of Connecticut in 1969.

Besides his home at 1051 Fifth Avenue [NYC], Commodore Plant owned Branford House, a magnificent estate at Eastern Point Colony, three miles from Groton, opposite New London, on the east bank of the mouth of the Thames [River].
(The New York Times, November 5, 1918)

9.15.10 ~ Avery Point
9.15.10 ~ Avery Point

First we strolled along the Sculpture Path by the Sea, where we took in the sparkling views of Eastern Point, New London, New London Ledge Lighthouse (above), Pine Island, Bluff Point and Groton Long Point.

9.15.10 ~ Avery Point
9.15.10 ~ Avery Point

The path led us by an impressive view of the 31-room mansion called Branford House, which was built in 1903, and then on to the Avery Point Lighthouse, the last lighthouse built in Connecticut in 1943. The lighthouse stopped being used in 1967 and fell into disrepair. Funds were raised by the Avery Point Lighthouse Society and in 2001 restoration began and in 2002 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Now I’ve lived in Groton for several decades and I knew there was a little art gallery somewhere in Branford House, but since it is open only for a few hours on only a few days of the week, and because there are no signs indicating where one might enter the building, I have never managed to visit it.

9.15.10 ~ Avery Point
9.15.10 ~ Avery Point

Well, as we were examining all the architectural details on the outside of the building we discovered an unlocked door. Pent up curiosity pulled me in and Janet followed. There were several huge empty rooms, which I believe people have rented for functions like weddings… We poked around, admired the breathtaking views, enormous fireplace, and dark, intricately carved paneling, and eventually came to a grand staircase. Even the white ceiling (see last picture) had detailed paneling! Climbed the stairs and, what-do-you-know? We were in the lobby of the well hidden Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art! Alexey von Schlippe (1915-1988) was a painter and a professor of art at UConn’s Avery Point campus.

The current exhibition is a collection from the Latin Network for the Visual Arts. After viewing the colorful artwork of various current Latin artists, we noticed a very narrow staircase with marble steps! Again curiosity pulled me to go down them to what seemed to be a coat closet and another doorway to the main rooms again. Came away wishing I could get a floor plan somehow – I think it would be fascinating to see how the rooms and hallways were arranged and what each room was used for.

9.15.10 ~ Avery Point
9.15.10 ~ Avery Point

9.15.10 ~ Avery Point
9.15.10 ~ Avery Point

I should add as a footnote that Project Oceanology is also located on the Avery Point Campus. This marine science and environmental education organization offers lighthouse expeditions, oceanographic research cruises and seal watches to the public, other things I’d love to do one of these days.

9.15.10 ~ Avery Point
9.15.10 ~ Avery Point

Grandmother

9.3.10 ~ Groton, Connecticut
9.3.10 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Yesterday my heart and mind were out on Cape Cod, watching and waiting to see what Hurricane Earl would do as it passed by. It was also the day my grandmother died, fourteen years ago, at the age of 90. It was a good day for lingering over pleasant memories.

Grandmother was a typical Cape Codder. As far as I know, all of her ancestors lived out their lives on Cape Cod, or were lost at sea, all of them descending from passengers on the Mayflower and other early English settlers on the Cape. Except for her great-grandfather, who came from Norway, and his wife, her great-grandmother, who came from Ireland. Both of her grandfathers and her father were sea captains, like their fathers before them. Grandmother told me all the time that the sea was in my blood.

Thankfully New England was spared Earl’s fury as the storm kept veering off to the east and weakening. We were very happy to make do without any more excitement! We went down to the beach during a break in the rain and there was some minor flooding from a little storm surge. Normally there is about twenty feet between the life guard chair and the water’s edge, but now the breaking waves came right up to the chair. (See photo above.) We were wondering about the line of birds hunkered down on the rocks in the distance. Couldn’t make out what they were. The breakwaters were almost covered with water.

But all in all, Hurricane Earl was a non-event.

Pop & Uncle Ed

I love this picture of my grandmother’s father, Capt. Martin F. Thompson (Pop), and her granduncle, Edward E. Swift (Uncle Ed), who lived to the age of 102. It was taken in Woods Hole in front of the hardware and ship’s chandler’s shop they used to run behind the Swifts’ house.

The sign used to read:  “Edward E. Swift, Dealer in Hardware, Cordage, Paints, Oil, Glass, and Galvanized Nails and Specialty.”

Uncle Ed  used to build and race 13-foot spritsail boats. After Uncle Ed died in 1964, my grandmother donated one of the spritsails he built to Mystic Seaport, a living history museum here in Connecticut, where it is still exhibited.

After spending many years caring for her children and then her parents and Uncle Ed & Aunt Flora, Grandmother spent the rest of her life pursuing her interests in nature photography and entomology. The little picture of me on the beach (in the sidebar on this blog) was taken by my grandmother. My grandparents were founding members of the Cape Cod Viewfinders Camera Club. The subjects of most of Grandmother’s photos were, of course, bugs…

Emma F. Thompson

While she was an artist and I have several of her watercolors hanging on my walls, more than anything she loved capturing perfectly composed photographs of butterfly eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises, and emerging adults. Grandfather was a land surveyor and Grandmother would go out with him on surveys and find the butterfly and moth eggs of various species and bring them home on their leaves and then put them in outdoor aquariums in her back yard. She made sure each one had the right leaves for its diet, and they were free to fly away after they emerged. Each time I visited I got a grand tour of her latest collection.

Often she would warn us as we sat down to dinner that someone was due to emerge from its cocoon or chrysalis at any moment and that we would have to excuse her if she had to dash away from the table to photograph the event. She was very proper, but also very mischievous. Once when my father was teasing her at the breakfast table, she got him back by impishly buttering the back of his hand. She never lost her sense of wonder and curiosity and I loved her so much for bringing lots of magic into my childhood.

Mum & Grandmother

It was so much fun having my grandmother as my first and best pen pal. Even though we made the trip to Cape Cod to see my grandparents about once a month, we’d exchange letters once or twice a week. We both loved reading and writing… I still have her newsy letters, and later was delighted to discover that she had kept all of mine.

The picture to the right is of my great-grandmother, Amanda Eliza Hamblin (Mum) and my grandmother, Emma Freeman “Thommie” Thompson. Amanda’s father was a sea captain, too. Thompson was the surname chosen by my ancestor, Martin Thompson, who was born in Brevik, Norway in 1818. At birth his name was Ingebrigt Martinus Hansen, and he was the son of Hans Tønnesen. He Americanized Tønnesen to Thompson when he arrived in America, a month before his 19th birthday.

My sister illustrated (with little sailboats and seagulls) a poem I wrote at a very early age, which we gave as a gift to our grandmother, who framed it and kept it hanging in her breakfast nook. It went something like this:

I love Cape Cod
Oh yes I do.
The sea, the sand,
Grandmother, too.
I love the Cape
So much, don’t you?