Monday, December 20, 2010

Sterling Clark (1767-1850)

Sterling Clark was one of a long line of Clark men born in Central Connecticut.  He was born in East Haddam on 18 March 1767 to Samuel and Ruth (Graves or Sterling) Clark

Sterling met and married his wife Sarah Warner, descendant of the Connecticut Warners, founders of East Haddam.  Their wedding took place at the East Haddam Congregational Church, just like many other Clark weddings.

Sterling worked as a blacksmith, as did his father, and also Sarah's father Jabez.  He purchased a lot in 1793 from William Selby at the south end of Ballyback Road (no such road exists in East Haddam today).  He built a small dwelling house and a blacksmithing shop.  The business lasted until 1802, until he sold the property to Nehemiah Tracy.

During the time of his blacksmith shop, the work apparently took its toll on Sterling, as he was a frequent purchaser of the local town cider brandy made by none other than Mr. Nehemiah Tracy.  According to "Parker's History of East Haddam," Sterling was Tracy's biggest customer.  He bought one gallon of cider brandy every day for 18 days straight in January of 1795.  Later that year in March, he bought 13 gallons, and in December, 7 gallons.  All purchases were on credit.  Cider brandy was deemed one of the safest drinks to consume, since late 18th century water and milk was often contaminated.  But maybe Sterling had other reasons to drink so much of it?  In any case, I wonder if the drinking took its toll on the business.

In any case, 1820 he sold the residue of his estate to Peter Martin.  By the 1840 Census, he had moved to Whitestown, New York to live with his son Jabez, who was a podiatrist in the New York Mills district.  Given that Jabez was likely the same Jabez who appears on War of 1812 service records, it's very possible that Jabez was given this land via bounty from the US Gov't for his service.

Sterling was listed as "blind" for Jabez' 1840 census record.  Sterling died in Whitestown sometime after his appearance on the 1850 Census (which also contains his other son Samuel, the fiddle and cabinet maker - more on him below).  As for Sterling's wife Sarah, she doesn't appear on any family census after 1800, but one Ancestry family tree claims she died in 5 Jul 1855.

1874 MAP

2011 MAP

Sterling & Sarah had 5 children:

Mary Clark (1789-1790) - died as an infant

Sterling Clark, Jr. (1790-1813) - apparently served in the Navy during the War of 1812.  He died young, after receiving $40.00 settlement from the Navy.

Jabez Clark (1792-after 1860) - named after his grandfather Jabez Warner.  He became a doctor, and moved to Whitestown New York, 240 miles west of East Haddam.  Whitestown is in Oneida County, where his aunt Sarah Clark-Spencer had moved to.  It's possible he moved to be closer to her.  Jabez married Fedelia Beebe, and had at least two children:  Jabez Jr. and Alvira.

James Clark (1794-after 1821) - my 3rd great grandfather.  He fought in the War of 1812, and received a land patent from President Monroe out near Quincy Illinois.  We aren't sure what happened to him.

Samuel Clark (1798-1874) - named after his grandfather Samuel Clark.  He was a cabinet maker, woodworker, and at one point was a violin and cello maker in Westmoreland, NY.  He lived in the JF Clark house (as noted in the above map), and such house is purportedly still standing, as of July 2016.  One of Samuel's cellos can be seen in the photo below, as found on a vintage auction site:

I know that my ancestor Leonard Sherman Clark, son to Samuel's brother James, was an avid violin player, as was some of his children, including my own grandfather, Frank Clarke.  It's fascinating to see the connection going back to the early 1800s.

Two other children, Joseph and Mehitable, also appear in various censuses with them, but they may not be Sterling's children, but rather, his brother Samuel Jr.'s.  More research needed.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Osborns of Kent

The Osborn(e) family name has many roots going back to Ireland, Scotland, and England.  My Osborn ancestors came from Ashford, Kent, England.  

My 2nd great grandmother, Lydia Osborn-Fuller (1845-1918), was born in Waterville, Maine to Timothy Osborn (1805-1898) & Lydia Burrill (1806-1854) of Winslow, Maine.

(ca.  1890)

(ca. 1880)

Lydia Osborn married Charles Samuel Fuller (1835-1878), son to Samuel Bean Fuller and Saran Ann Osborn.  Sarah Ann was Lydia's cousin, since Timothy (Lydia's father) was son to sea captain Isaac Osborn, brother to Sarah's father, Ephraim Osborn (whose wife was Lydia Wyman of Bowdoinham).

Ephraim, Isaac, and their father, Jedediah Osborn, were all East Hampton, Long Island veterans of the Revolutionary War.  Ephraim & Isaac (brothers who were also my 4th great grandfathers) moved to Winslow Maine and each married the Wyman sisters, and eventually settled in Fairfield, Maine (which was then deemed 'wilderness'), and lived farmers' lives. 

More on Ephraim's story and progeny can be found here.

More on Isaac's story and progeny can be found here.

Their father, Jedediah Osborn (1721-1786), my 5th great grandfather, was the eldest of 11 children born to Josiah Osborn (1697-1754) & Sarah Flint (1700-1758) of East Hampton.  Jedediah was a miller, and inherited the mill from his father.  Jedediah married Deborah Miller.  Jedediah's brother, Jonathan the sea captain, married Mary Miller, Deborah's sister.

Josiah Osborn (1697-1754), my 6th great grandfather, was born to Ephraim Osborn (1666-1744) and Elizabeth Miller (1666-1743), also of East Hampton.  This Ephraim was the first of six Ephraims in his direct line.  Ephraim the Sixth died in 1929 in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Ephraim's parents were John Osborne from Ashford, Kent, England and Miriam Hand of East Hampton.  John came from Kent with his parents, Thomas Osborne & Mary Goatley, and settled in New York.  There are no ship records for them that I can locate at present, but there does appear to be a Thomas Osborn of correct age listed as a settler of Jamestown, having landed there in 1620 on the Francis Bonadventure.  Thomas's line has been well traced for at least five generations, and everyone was from Ashford.  The furthest back that this line has been traced by genealogists is to John Osborne, born 1468 in Ashford.  I'm definitely curious if I'm related to rocker Ozzy Osbourne.  I'm hoping "Who Do You Think You Are" does a feature on him one day.  If his origins are also Kent, then it's most definite.

Another Thomas Osborne in my line (my 11th great grandfather) had a mother named Jane Broughton, who was descended from the DeVeres of Hedingham Castle.

Osborn Origins is a site that traces many of the seemingly infinite Osborn lines.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

William Sanford Morgan

William Sanford Morgan (1841-1920), also known as "Sanford Morgan" was born in Winterport Maine (then part of Frankfort) to Henry Gray Morgan and Harriet Holmes, both of Winterport.

In 1860, just before the outbreak of the Civil War, Winterport became its own town, annexed away from Frankfort.  William was 18 years old, and it's likely that he and his family were at the ceremony.

MARCH 12, 1860


On 14 January, 1862, he enlisted in the Civil War and listed his occupation at the time as a mariner.

William served as Coxswain on the USS KEARSARGE, which deported from Portsmouth Naval Yard on 5 February 1862 for the coast of Spain to join in the blockade of Confederate raiders. Captain John A. Winslow took command of the KEARSARGE on April 8, 1863, while she remained in European waters searching for raiders.

The Battle of Cherbourg
Arriving in Cherbourg, France on 14 June 1864, she found the Confederate Ship ALABAMA in port. On June 19, ALABAMA stood out of Cherbourg Harbor for her last action. Careful of French neutrality, KEARSARGE'S new commanding officer, Captain Winslow, took the ship well clear of territorial waters, and then turned to meet the Confederate cruiser. ALABAMA fired first but the battle quickly turned against her and within an hour the ALABAMA had been reduced to a sinking wreck and her Captain Raphael Semmes struck his colors and surrendered. KEARSARGE rescued the majority of the ALABAMA's survivors; but Captain Semmes and 41 others were picked up by a British yacht. Captain Winslow was promoted to Commodore and the New York Chamber of Commerce honored him, the KEARSARGE, and her crew, mainly men from New Hampshire, for their victory.

According to the book "The Alabama & the Kearsarge - The Sailor's Civil War ", by William Marvel, copyright 1996 UNC Press, William, among many other sailors, was over contracted, as in, his contract had expired some time before the Battle of Cherbourg occurred. 

Coincidentally, the ALABAMA also had a shipmate named William Morgan, who was a foretop captain from Liverpool.


USS KEARSARGE (some crew on aft deck)

The battle in Boulogne France between the USS KEARSARGE and the ALABAMA was apparently very dramatic, causing many spectators to watch from the sidelines.  Edouard Manet was inspired by the battle and painted his classic masterpieces "Kearsarge at Boulogne":

When he came back from the war, William moved to Portland Maine and worked as a mechanic, a stevedore (ship unloader), a pile driver, and later a night watchman.  

In January of 1865, John Henry Brown Morrill, prominent local barber, wrote a nice tribute towards Morgan in the Eastern Argus:

Daily Eastern Argus
Jan. 20, 1865

In October of 1865, he married John Morrill's sister, Emily N. Morrill, and they lived on Peaks Island briefly just after their marriage (but he would return to live on Peaks with his 2nd wife, Nellie, at the last 10 years of his life). 

(ca. 1890)

William & Emily had three daughters:

1. Hattie Emma Morgan, (1866-1927) my Grammy Clarke's mother, was born on Peaks Island in October of 1866.  She married James Downey and later married John Henry Temm.  Much more about Hattie can be read by clicking on her name here.

2. Adelaide A. Morgan (1869-1954) was married in July 1891 to George W. Simpson (1864-1912), just a few months prior to her mother's second marriage to Joseph G. Hall (who was a witness to Adelaide & George's wedding).  They had only one child, Emily Simpson-Pease (1897-1990).  About 10 years after George passed away, Adelaide married Presbury Luce Dennison (1865-1943).  Adelaide lived in Portland all her life.  She and her daughter Emily were well respected members of the Daughters of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War Union Army membership group.

(ca. 1930)

On their wedding day, 29 Apr 1922


(with unknown boy)

(Daughter to Adelaide Morgan & George Simpson)

(Husband of Emily Simpson)

3. Abigail Louise Morgan (1873-1954) never married, but lived with her sister Adelaide, then later with her niece Emily Pease, in Portland.  She was affectionately known as "Aunt Lou".  She was a member of the "Daughters of Union Veterans".  During WWII she worked as a caterer for the local induction board.  She died in her home on 144 Washburn Avenue, about three months after her sister Adelaide had died.

(ca 1950)

Emily filed divorce against William on 19 May 1886, due to "gross and confirmed habits of intoxication".  The divorce became final on 12 Jan 1887, after the then customary six month waiting period.  Emily went to Chicago about five years later to marry her longtime Portland neighbor, Joseph G. Hall.  She died in 1900 of hemiplegia.  William moved to Brooklyn New York at some point in the 1890's.  In 1900, he remarried to Nellie Ashton Libby-Drake in Eastport Maine.  William & Nellie moved around a lot their first 10 years of marriage.  They lived on Front Street in South Portland, 9 Brattle Street, and in 1910 Nellie purchased 12 Merriam Street on Peaks Island, where William spent his final years, and died there in 1920.  Nellie stayed on at Peaks until she died in March of 1928.  She had trouble receiving continued pension payments after his death.

Also, the book "The Alabama & the Kearsarge - The Sailor's Civil War", included a photograph from 1915 of all the Kearsarge survivors of Cherbourg. I wonder why William wasn't in the photograph, he didn't die until 1920. I wonder if he was too ill, or drunk, to bother, or if they tried to contact him.  In 1915, the survivors of the Kearsarge had a reunion, and twelve of them showed up.  I wonder why William wasn't there.  Was he invited?  Was he too drunk or ill to attend?

SOURCE:  The Alabama and the Kearsarge:  The Sailor's Civil War  by William Marvel, published 1996 by UNC Press

William had stayed briefly at Togus Hospital in 1917, below is his record, on which appears he had suffered a number of ailments.


William’s older brother Albert fought in the Civil War in Louisiana in 1863, as part of the 26th Maine Regiment.  After the War he moved to Chicago and worked as a typesetter.

William’s younger brother Horace also fought for the last year of the War, as he had just turned 17. 

A look at the enlistment cards and hospital records for the Morgan brothers reveals an interesting tidbit. All the brothers were 5’6” or under in height. Young Horace was only 5’3”.

Real Estate Records in Cumberland County, Maine:

-13 Feb 1873 - For $106.00, William bought and mortgaged his home on 8 Madison Street, in the East Bayside district of Portland, from Thomas McGinnis.  He had succeeded to the prior mortgages of others on this property at the same time.  A note on the deed declares that William satisfied the mortgage by December of 1877. 

-27 Dec 1877 - For $600.00, William sold off the Madison Street property to Nicholas Anderson of Scarborough.  Nice profit!

-27 Dec 1877 - For $600.00, William then bought some property on West Beech Ridge Road in Scarborough from Nicholas Anderson and his brother.  Looks like a land swap.  The land was described as "from the Jewett Farm to the Plains".  He moved in with his wife and three adolescent daughters.  I believe this is how his daughter Hattie (age 11 when she arrived in Scarborough) ended up meeting John Henry Temm. 

-13 Feb 1878 - For $312.00, William mortgaged the Scarborough property to George Beale of Chicago.  They must have hit some hard times in that winter. 

-10 Aug 1878 - George Beale discharged the mortgage.

-12 Sep 1878 - For $200.00, William did a 2nd mortgage on the Scarborough property, from his brother-in-law, Roger Rundlett, of Cambridge.  By the 1880 Census, William was renting property on Greenleaf Street, back in the old neighborhood of East Bayside Portland.

-6 July 1880 - Roger Rundlett discharged the 2nd mortgage.

-16 July 1880 - For $300.00,William did a 3rd mortgage on the Scarborough property to Ira Farrington of Portland

-7 May 1883 - For "$1.00 and other consideration", William sold the Scarborough property to his creditor Ira Farrington.  By this time the Morgans were renting property on 26 Lowell Street in the Libbytown district of Portland.

-22 Mar 1910 - For "$1.00 and other consideration", William's 2nd wife Nellie bought the house on Peaks Island known as "Lot 5 Oceanside Terrace", and a little research shows it to be 12 Merriam Street, the house that William died in in 1920.  They lived next door to a large Danish immigrant family, the Wendts.  The Morgan property here was sold by Percy McCann to Lillian Johnstone in 1945, and Lillian Johnstone sold same to current owner, who runs a realty company from the residence.

Gravesite of William Sanford Morgan
Forest City Cemetery
South Portland, Maine

Below is a pedigree chart for William.

He has entirely English roots, but the direct Morgan line comes from Wales originally, so it's safe to surmise that he's 25% Welsh, 75% English.  While he has no Mayflower ancestors, he has some old colonial roots in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Descendants of James Devine (1829-1864)

James Devine (1829-1864) was born in County Tyrone, in Northern Ireland to Bernard Devine (1784-1864) and his wife Margaret.

James sailed for Portland Maine at some point prior to 1848, likely with his father Bernard, and his brother, Bernard, Jr.  James' wife, Ellen Norris (1827-1871), was also from Ireland.  James worked as a laborer, and enlisted in the Civil War in July of 1863, but died just over a year later of consumption at age 35.  His wife Ellen died seven years later at age 44.

James & Ellen had four children:

1. Catherine M. Devine (1848-1912) also known as "Kate", lived on Munjoy Hill in Portland all her life, and never married.  She had one son out of wedlock, James, when she was a young girl.  At the end of her life she was living with her niece, Helen Devine-McKeough on 24 Sheridan Street, but also working as a live-in cook to wealthy widow James McMullen on 121 State Street.

2. Edward Devine (1851-1873) died at age 22 in Portland.  He worked as a boilermaker.

3. Margaret Devine (1854-1908).  No further information.

4. John F. Devine (1858-1894), sometimes named John Thomas Devine, John H. Devine, John E. Devine, and Thomas J. Devine.  John worked as a fireman on the railroad.  He married Elizabeth Maria Leonard from Portraine Ireland ca. 1883 in Portland.  They moved to 47 Tyng Street (around the corner from St. Dominic's) and had three children:

--Helen Devine (1884-1966).  Helen married a baker named James ("Jim") Michael McKeough, a descendant of Nova Scotians originally from Tipperary, Ireland, and had four children:  Doris, Edward, Phlip (died at birth) & Philip.  James and his brother Duncan were both bakers, and at one time worked in different hotels across Congress Street from one another - Duncan worked at the Lafayette and Jim was at the Columbia - both located between High and State Streets.

--John Francis Devine Sr. (1885-1949).  "Frank" was a bricklayer from South Portland.  He married Mary Camilla Gill (a second generation Irish American), and had nine children.

--Agnes Devine (1889-1893) (died at age 4)

In January of 1894, not long after the death of her youngest child Agnes, Elizabeth Leonard-Devine died of consumption, at age 37.  Seven months later, her husband, John Devine, was drunk in Gorham's Corner in the West End, and was quarreling with a drunk barber (reportedly a jealous husband), and this fight caused John to fall and hit his head on the brick sidewalk  The paddy wagon came and got them, and John Devine died that night in jail of a brain inflammation, one day shy of his 36th birthday. The funeral was held at 14 Briggs Street, the home of his brother-in-law, Mathew John Leonard.

Daily Eastern Argus
Portland, Maine
25 Aug 1894

Portland Daily Press
August 25, 1894

His son, Frank Sr., at 9 years old, then being orphaned, sailed for Portraine by himself to live with his Aunt Annie Leonard-Quinlan.  Frank's sister Helen, at 10 years old, moved in with her aunt Catherine Devine at 48 Adams Street, whom Helen took care of in her later years.  It's interesting to me that the decision was made for Helen to stay in Portland, but that Frank had to sail back to the homeland.

Dublin, ca. 1903

What I find even more interesting is the chain of causality stemming from this one drunken night.  It orphaned his son, who had to move to Ireland with his aunt Annie.  Later, Annie would then be named in the Will of her uncle Thomas D. Leonard as thanks for raising young Frank.  Annie then got the gumption to move to Portland, Maine herself, collect her inheritance, and stayed there.  This put her in a position to manipulate the Will of her older brother Mathew John Leonard, who was infirm of mind, and to shut out Mathew's own sons out of their due property and money.  The mention of old ugly Annie to any of the Leonard elders is still met with scorn to this day.

When Frank Sr. left Portraine, and returned to Portland in 1903 at age 18 (bringing with him his aunt Annie), he married Mary Gill from Maine (whose grandparents were also from Ireland), and had 8 daughters and 1 son (Frank Jr).  Frank Jr. (aka Frannie) also spent some time in Portraine with family during his WWII service.

Five of Frank Sr's nine children are still alive as of this writing (November 2010), and many descendants also remain in the area.  They had their annual reunion this August in South Portland.  The Devines have several plots in Calvary Cemetery in South Portland.

This is only a small accounting of the Devines of Portland.  There were at least ten other Irish Devine families living in Portland at the same time as my family, and I've attempted to further trace them and make whatever connections I can between them here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mathew John Leonard (1854-1939)

Mathew John Leonard (1854-1939) was one of eleven children born to Mathew & Anna Leonard of The Burrow in Portraine/Donabate, County Dublin.

Mathew and two of his sisters (Elizabeth and Ellen) sailed from Londonderry England on the ship S.S. Caspian, arriving in Boston Harbor on April 8, 1881. He was part of the mass migration of Irish to New England for industrial jobs, in the wake of the Irish Potato Famine and Cholera outbreak of the mid to late 1800's.

While he was my first direct Leonard ancestor to set foot on American soil, he wasn't the first in his own family to arrive. His uncle, Thomas D. Leonard (nicknamed "Prod"), had already set up a florist shop on 648 Congress Street in Downtown Portland Maine in the 1850's.  Prod had escaped at the height of the Famine, which must have ravaged the Leonard family badly, and had bought up an entire block of land, including several side by side houses, to entice his family back in Portrane to come and join him.

Upon Mathew's arrival, he moved up to Portland and took residence in one of Prod's houses.  Mathew started work as a railroad freight handler (and later a watchman) at the Portland Terminal Company, where he worked the remainder of his life, as did his son Matthew Jr.. At that point in time, Portland was becoming a major railroad hub, where 6 main railroads began to intersect there.


Portland, Maine, 1888

He met Elizabeth M. Howlett (1863-1911), a fellow Irish immigrant from Dublin City (not sure if they knew each other prior to arrival in Portland). Elizabeth was daughter to Thomas Howlett and Sarah Mullarney of Dublin City.  Mathew and Elizabeth married in Portland in September of 1889, and rented property on 14 Briggs Street from his Uncle Prod (who owned all the buildings on that block), down near the waterfront, just a few doors down from Prod's house on 2 Briggs Street. 

In 1914, a few years after his wife Lizzie died, Mathew purchased 8 Briggs Street (built around 1834) from his cousin Margaret Wade-Lee, a niece to Prod's wife Alice Wade.  That house had been in the Wade family for some time, since Alice's brother Patrick had purchased it.  I'm thinking maybe he didn't want to live in the same house he had shared with his wife while she was alive - or, maybe 8 Briggs was a bigger house, and could house his growing family. 

Below is a 1924 tax record for the house:

Mathew was known as "Old Matt" towards the end of his life (to distinguish himself from his son Matthew, obviously known as "Young Matt").  Old Matt was known to be a fairly large heavy set man with a very friendly disposition and a slight accent.  He retired from the railroad in 1929 at age 74.  Old Matt had trouble with a prostate hernia, which was very uncomfortable, and visible to everyone.  He also had been badly injured while at work on the Maine Central Railroad:

Portland Daily Press
June 8, 1894

Towards the end he became senile and had arteriosclerotic heart disease (as well as cerebral arteriosclerosis).  He spent the last two years of his life with this disease, living at Farrington Hospital for the indigent (now known as the Portland City Hospital, behind the Barron Center), until his death at age 84.

From Left to Right:
Mathew John Leonard, Sr.
Elizabeth Howlett-Leonard
Thomas Matthew Leonard
Mary Duran-Graney
(Mary was a family friend from Ireland, also moved to Portland
whose daughter Lizzie married Matthew John Leonard, Jr.)

Mathew John Leonard and Elizabeth Howlett had three children:

-Thomas Matthew Leonard (1891-1943) (my paternal great grandfather, named after his great uncle Prod) was a bit of a wayward soul. He worked as a janitor, cook, a fireman, a novelty supply shipper, and later as a porter at an advertising company, also having served for three days in the Army in WWI.  He purchased 8 Briggs Street from his father, and two months later married Agnes T. Peterson, born in Westbrook, Maine to Danish immigrants, in 1916. They had one child in Portland, my grandfather Thomas Edward Leonard (whose birth record somehow says Thomas Mathew Leonard Jr.). Thomas Mathew's father Mathew, as well as his own brother Mathew, lived at 8 Briggs Street with the family.  Thomas Mathew died of emphysema at on October 15, 1943, at age 52 (the anniversary of his own mother's death).  My great grandfather Tom was described to me as a tall, lanky man with dark blue eyes who always carried a pipe to smoke with, and was a heavy drinker.

-Sarah Gertrude Leonard (1892-1916) was nicknamed Sallie (which was a common nickname for Sarah at the time).  She married a laborer named Michael Peter Petroski, born in Detroit to Russian parents.  They married on August 20, 1914 when she was five months pregnant (it was also her brother Thomas' 23rd birthday...).  They had one son, Leonard Petroski, who died in infancy in 1914.  Sally died one year later of tuberculosis, at age 24.  Sallie and her son are buried in the family plot with her parents and brother (Thomas Matthew).  Her death record states that she had TB for two years, which would mean she had contracted it prior to her pregnancy.

-Matthew John Leonard, Jr., (1895-1985) worked at Portland Terminal Company with his father. He married Elizabeth B. Graney, daughter of Mary Duran and Patrick Graney, and part of the large group of Graneys that moved from Galway Ireland.  Young Matt and Lizzie lived nearby in Portland's West End. Prod's daughter (Elizabeth Ellen) also married a Graney from the neighborhood (she and her family ended up renting 2 Briggs Street from her father).  Young Matt had two sons, John and Richard.

(circa 1880)

Wedding Day
(5 months pregnant)
August 20, 1914

From Left to Right:
Sarah Leonard-Petroski
Michael Petroski
"Mystery Woman"

I THINK this is my great grandfather
Thomas Mathew Leonard

In the 1970's that entire block of Briggs Street (then owned by others) was deemed blighted, and taken by the City through eminent domain proceedings, and conveyed over to the Redevelopment Agency.  It was completely razed and public housing was created, with a large parking lot and playground.  I managed to find pictures of the old houses by using 1924 Portland Tax Records, and they can be found here.

(formerly 2-14 BRIGGS STREET)

As for Uncle Prod, it's interesting that he had the means to make it to the USA, marry his wife Alice, father two daughters, as well as have a servant (Johnnie Murray), and own the entire Briggs Street block, all on a florist's income. Prod died in 1912. His estate took a long time to settle, and Old Matt was the executor on it through 1928.  Prod's two daughters, Mary Leonard-Haley and Elizabeth Leonard-Graney, successfully got Old Matt removed as executor on the estate (claiming that he was taking too long to settle it), and placed a third party in charge of the estate, despite Old Matt's formal complaint that they were embezzling from the estate before it could be settled.

Mathew's sister, Annie Leonard-Quinlan-Batchelder, had moved from The Burrow to Portland specifically to collect on Prod's estate.  She also meddled in Mathew's estate once he became senile, and, with the help of an attorney, got herself named Executrix of his estate, and managed to get his immediate family cut out of the Will.  The antics of Evil Old Annie were still talked about for many decades thereafter.

In 1939, just after Old Matt had died, Annie also managed to get the 8 Briggs Street property out from under his son Thomas Matthew (who had just mortgaged the property at $150, I guess he couldn't pay the mortgage).  Annie sold the property in July 1942, to Lucille Chase.  This was about a year before Thomas landed in Mercy Hospital with emphysema, where he died in October of 1943.  Since his death certificate stated that his residence was 8 Briggs Street, I'm assuming Lucille may have kept Thomas on as a tenant until his illness and death.

Calvary Cemetery, South Portland, Maine

The above gravestone was ordered by my grandfather, Thomas Edward Leonard ("Tommy"), in 1968...25 years after his father passed.  He placed it at the demand of his cousin, Matthew John Leonard, Jr., (Young Matt) who was aware that Tommy had received the bulk his own father's estate, yet had done nothing about a grave to date, even though it was stipulated as his father's wishes that he do this. 

What's a great shame to me is that for the other five people buried here (Matthew John Leonard, Sr., his wife Elizabeth, their daughter Sallie, her son Leonard Petroski, and Annie Batchelder), nobody had bothered to pay for an engraving of their names too. 

In May of 2015, I paid for the stone to be updated myself, thanks to the help of Maine Memorial (I hope the stone weathers enough to make this look more even someday):


Maine Federal Naturalization Records
US Census Records
Portland Tax Records

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Morrills of Tuftonboro New Hampshire

The Morrill/Morrell name stems from England, but since it's such a common name in New England, I discovered that it's tricky business to try and connect all my own known 1800s Morrill ancestors back any further without error.  My proven Morrill line goes back to Jotham Morrill (born in Berwick around 1770), father to Jonathan Smythe Morrill (born in Tuftonboro New Hampshire in 1804). 

This blog post is, more than anything, an outreach to other Morrill descendants.  It would be great to fill in the blanks here.  In communications with known Morrill descendants, I've been pointed to the very impressive website entitled Morrill Online, which tracks over 14,000 Morrills, but still doesn't account for many.  While many of my ancestors do indeed appear on here, they can't seem to trace back any further than I, and they don't include yet my oldest known ancestor Jotham Morrill of Moultonboro (born around 1768).  The owner of the site admits that there could be duplicative names, as in, my ancestors could appear twice in different forms.

One important and large branch of the Morrill family comes from colonial Salisbury, Massachusetts who descends from Abraham Morrill of Essex, England.  I'm quite doubtful that my line connects to that branch at all.

The other major branch of the Morrill family comes from John Morrell from England/Ireland, of unknown parentage.  This Morrill family established in Kittery in the late 17th Century, and John Morrell was a founder of North Berwick.  Many of these Morrills were early settlers of other towns in York County, like Berwick and Eliot.

A William Morrill, Jr. of Moultonboro had originally come from Berwick, Maine, like Jotham and descends from John Morrell.  William settled in Moultonboro (next town over from Tuftonboro) around 1785, when his first child was born.  William's age is close to that of Jotham.  On a 1907 Sons of the American Revolution record for a descendant of William named Wilmot Marden, and also on a War of 1812 enlistment record for Jotham (more on this below), they both state these men were of dark complexion.  So I feel there is a possibility that Jotham and William were brothers. However, this SAR record states that William was a descendant of Abraham Morrill of Salisbury, not John Morrell of Kittery/Berwick (I think this is an error, because there are other records which show the connection of the Berwick Morrills to John, not Abraham).  Further, the 1800 Census shows William Morrill of Moultonboro living next door to Jotham Morrill.

In page 367 of a publication entitled Morrill Kindred in America, Vol. 2, an Account of the Descendants of Abraham Morrill by Annie Morrill Smith (republished in 1931, with new material, The Grafton Press), a letter written in 1925 by  Mrs. Ethel Morrill McCollister of Mechanic Falls, Maine, there appears to be some evidence that Morrills descending from John Morrill of Kittery (not necessarily related to the historical Salisbury line) are connected to the Tuftonboro Morrills:

"The estate founded in Kittery (now Eliot Maine) by John Morrell was handed down intact until about one hundred years ago, when it was divided between two sons, John and William.  John's seven children were unmarried and the last two were cared for during their declining years by their grandnephew, Charles, who was the grandson of William aforementioned.
"This Charles tells me that the last to die, 'Aunt Harriet,' often told tales of her trips by wagon to Tuftonboro, New Hampshire, to visit her cousins of the Betsey Morrill Spencer line, and I believe the Tuftonboro folks came often to Kittery to see their kinsmen. So I think that removes all doubt of the kinship of the two families."

-Mrs. Ethel McCollister

Now, this group of Morrills of Tuftonboro would have lived there after the Civil War era, and my research involves Revolutionary War Morrills of Tuftonboro who left the area just after the War.  This may be a coincidence.

I find several reasons, however, to discredit some of the information given in the above letter excerpt: research shows that Ethel also descends from Abraham, not John.

-John Morrell of Kittery did not have a son named William, according to Morrill Online. Rather, he had three sons, John, Nicholas, and Abraham.

Further, in a publication called Morrill Genealogy:  Hibbard Morrill and His Descendants, written by Betsey Morrill Spencer, published in 1910 by Press of Seymour Brothers, it appears that the above claim could be backed up by the assertion that Betsey's great uncle William Morrill (born 1778) settled in Moultonboro, NH (next town over from Tuftonboro), and that William's brother was Hibbard Morrill, Sr. (the subject of this book).  Now, according to various other sources, this is not true.  Hibbard did not have a brother named William.

But, according to Morrill Online, Betsey Morrill-Spencer descended from Abraham Morrill, not John Morrell of Kittery.  The Tuftonboro Morrills, from my research so far, have all descended from John.

I wonder if any of these families were connected to my 4th great grandfather Jotham?

Another blog post I wrote details all the Morrill families who lived in Portland Maine.

(who else is buried there?)

Jotham's son, my 3rd Great Grandfather, Jonathan Smythe Morrill (1804-1881), was a carpenter and bridge builder born in Tuftonboro, NH.

In reviewing the 1810 Tuftonboro Census, it appears that Jotham & Catharine also had one girl at the time under 10 years of age.  I found a death record for a Statira Morrill-Graves who appears to be the right age, and was married to an Ephraim Graves, who died young.  They had two sons, Albert (1820-1884) and Joseph (1830- ).  Jonathan named one of his daughters Statira as well.

Statira died of La Grippe just a few days shy of her 90th birthday.  She and her family are buried at Bean Cemetery in Moultonboro, quite close to the graves of William Morrill (born 1778, who is mentioned above), and his wife Betsey (of the Betsey Morrill Spencer line).

There was another prominent Morrill family in Tuftonboro headed by Samuel Morrill (1779-1849), who I believe was a distant cousin to Jonathan Smythe Morrill's uncle.   


More about Samuel's family, and a profile on their backyard cemetery can be found here.

More about Jonathan Smythe Morrill's family life in Portland can be found here.


Morrill Kindred in America by Annie Morrill Smith published 1931, The Grafton Press
Morrill Genealogy:  Hibbard Morrill and His Descendants, written by Betsey Morrill Spencer, published in 1910 by Press of Seymour Brothers