Saturday, March 10, 2012

Surname Saturday - Thomas Noble

Thomas Noble was born on 10 September 1696 in Westfield, Massachusetts. He was the fourth Thomas Noble in his line and the 3rd Thomas noble born on Massachusetts Colony soil. His father, also named Thomas (the III) was married to Elizabeth Dewey. Thomas was a farmer by profession. His grandfather, also named Thomas (married to Hannah Warriner) was an early settler of Westfield. The records of Westfield show that Thomas was chosen to be a fence viewer in 1739 and 1744. In 1761 he was on a committee to build pews in the meeting house. He was a moderator of town meetings held in that same meeting house. He lived on the land of his grandfather. His house is pictured here on this page. He married Sarah Root on September 1, 1722. Sarah Root was born in 1701 in Westfield, Massachusetts to John and Sarah (Stebbins) Root. They had the following children:
Sarah Born 11 Aug 1723 Died 26 March 1796
Married Aaron Dewey
Thomas Born 6 Feb 1725
Married Susannah Cole
Stephen Born 16 Apr 1727
Married Ruth Church
Eunice Born 9 Mar 1729
Married Samuel Smith
John Born 7 Sep 1731
Married Lois Sexton
Silas Born 28 Aug 1733
Married B Dewey and May Taylor
Aaron Born 24 Dec 1735 Died 26 Nov 1760
Elizabeth Born on 2 Feb 1738
Married M. Dewey, J.C. Miller and B. Saxon
Caleb Born 1 April 1741
Married Mercy Kellogg
Seth Born 15 April 1743
Married H Barker, R. Emory and M. Riddle

I descend from the daughter of Thomas and Sarah also named Sarah who married Aaron Dewey on 12 June 1747. There is a discrepancy regarding the date of death of Sarah (Root) Noble. The Westfield town records record her date of death as 26 November 1760, however, her tombstone states she died in Westfield on July 19, 1760. After the death of his wife, Sarah Root Noble, Thomas Noble married Sarah Field Belding in 1761. She died just a few years later on August 17, 1763 in Westfield. Thomas died in Westfield on February 18, 1775 at the age of 78 and was buried in The Old Burying Ground also called The Mechanic Street Cemetery in Westfield.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - The Will of John Dewey

I love wills! Most people think I am crazy when I say that but anyone who does genealogy understands. Wills and probate records can tell you everything I began genealogy for. They can offer an insight into the character of it's author and the family relationships. I have broken more than 1 brick wall with wills and probate records. About a year ago, I ordered probate records for Lewis County, New York. I scoured that film for John Dewey my 4th great grandfather. I could not find him then, however, thanks to Family Search, his will is now on their website. It was 4 pages. I learned much about this man from his will. In retrospect, I guess I already knew this man was an ancestor to be very proud of. After all, he volunteered to serve in the Revolutionary War twice...and he supplied his own gun and ammunition. He documented his service in a diary that highlights some of the defining moments of the war. That diary can be read on my website here. I will transcribe portions of his will below. I hope to have it up in it's entirety on my website soon. You can view page 1 in his own handwriting(!!!!) on this page.
"In the name of God Amen. I John Dewey of the Town of Leyden, County of Lewis & State of New York, considering the uncertainty of this mortal life & being in a low state of health, yet helped by God, enjoying a sound mind & memory, do make & ordain this my last will & testament in the following form & manner - After committing my body to dust in the hopes of a future resurrection & my soul thru Jesus Christ to the mercy of God who gave it. Item 1st I give & bequeath unto my beloved wife Achsa Dewey one carriage, one horse, ten sheep & two swine; also one half of all my household furniture to be taken out in such articles as will be for her comfort and convenience to keep herewith & to be equal in value to one half to her use & disposal forever; Also I give & bequeath to my said wife for her use and benefit & support during her life one half of all my buildings & use of fifty acres of land lying on the north side of my farm to run parallel across the farm." The body of the 4 page will has told me John was a man of strong religious faith, who was very successful in life, leaving over 300 acres of land and many animals and buildings. He loved his wife and children very much and he probably knew he was dying when he wrote this will. Best of all his legacy gave me the best mother who ever lived.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Carlton Kent

Working on my mother's grandmother's family, the Kents has been challenging to say the least. After working with my father's Italians I became accustomed to be able to trace family utilizing an abundance of records. Not so with the Kents. There are very few records available for Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania in part because the Kents were the first settlers there before anyone thought to record births and deaths. To make matters worse, many of the records were lost in a big flood in the area so I have been left to seek alternative sources for information. I have written a little about the life of my great grandmother Etta Kent Dewey here previously. This post is about her grandfather Carlton Kent. The family of Carlton has been the most difficult to learn anything about. His father and grandfather were among the earliest settlers in the area so even though few records exist for them, there was much information found about them in books and newspapers. I had to dig deeper and really scrutinize the information and records I did have for Carlton. I am so glad I did. What I found was an amazing man of great moral fortitude and a strong sense of family and responsibility. It seems Carlton did not have an easy life, although he did live longer than his father Abel, Jr. who died at 44 and his son Abel who died at 52. Carlton was born in 1791 in New Ashford, Massachusetts to Abel and Diadema (Horton) Kent. In 1792 his family moved to a remote area of Susquehanna County that was just beginning to be settled. Several of Carlton's aunt, uncles and their families as well as some neighbors in New Ashford followed soon after. Carlton undoubtedly helped his father on the farm and grew up learning how to be a farmer. Carlton married Sally Griggs around the same time his father died. His father, Abel Kent, Jr. died in February, 1813 when Carlton was 20 years old. Abel's passing left his wife Diadema a widow with a baby and several young children to care for alone. Although only 20 when his father died he and his mother were executors of his estate. In this remote township of Clifford (now Herrick), Carlton could not leave his mother alone with a new baby and so many small children so Carlton brought his mother and all his young siblings into his home with his young bride. Carlton and Sally began having children of their own and by 1820 Carlton was living in Gibson with his wife, his 3 young children Mary, Abel and Orpha as well as his mother and siblings John, Rufus, Harlie Ann, Eliza, Harriet, plus 3 other sisters who may have been named Mary, Mehitable and Sally (I have found no solid proof these names are correct although Carlton did have 3 sisters besides those proven). Carlton was supporting a family of 12 before the age of 28! He supported his younger sisters who lived with them until they married and he supported and provided a home for his handicapped sister Harriet until her death. In 1847 at the age of 56 Carlton and Sarah's daughter Orpha Amelia became a widow after her husband Elisha died. Carlton took his daughter and grandson William Harris Harding into his home after the death of her husband Elisha Harding. Carlton was an administrator of his will and took care of his estate by selling his property and taking care of all the legalities. In 1853 Carlton, living in Herrick now built a Methodist Church with his friends and neighbors Walter and Wheeler Lyon, and Andrew Giddings. The church structure still exists today. The church records showed the family remained close even after Carlton's children married and had families of their own. They continued to attend church together at the same time. On February 4, 1855 Carlton's wife died suddenly. By 1860 Carlton, aged 68, was living with his son Abel and Abel's family. Although it is unknown when he died, he died before 1870. I am very proud of Carlton, a man who clearly took very good care of his family, and was not only a good son, brother, father, husband and provider but a good man as well. Congratulations, Carlton, on a life well led and a good example of how I should lead my own life.
The granddaughter of Carlton Kent, Etta Kent Dewey. This photograph was taken in Herrick on Etta's last trip back home shortly before her death.