August 29, 2015

TOWLE of Hampton, Hawke, and Kingston, New Hampshire

Generation 1: My first TOWLE ancestor in America was Philip TOWLE. He was born in England, probably in Crediton, Devon County. He immigrated to New England, settling in Hampton, New Hampshire sometime before 1657. In that year, on 19 September, he married Isabella AUSTIN, daughter of Francis AUSTIN and Isabella BLAND. He died on 19 December 1696 in Hampton.

Generation 2: Caleb TOWLE I was born to Philip TOWLE and Isabella AUSTIN on 14 May 1678. On 19 April 1678 in Hampton, New Hampshire, he married Zipporah BRACKETT, daughter of Anthony BRACKETT and Susannah DRAKE. He owned a sawmill, and passed in Hampton on 5 August 1765.

Generation 3: Caleb TOWLE II was born to Caleb TOWLE I and Zipporah BRACKETT in Hampton, New Hampshire on 9 May 1701. He married Rebecca PRESCOTT, daughter of James PRESCOTT and Mariah MARSTON, on 1 January 1728. He died in Hawke (aka Danville), New Hampshire on 3 February 1795.

Caleb Towle's will, 1795, page 1. Courtesy of

Caleb Towle's will, 1795, page 2-- one of the witnesses was Josiah Bartlett, signer of the Declaration of Independence and governor of New Hampshire. Courtesy of

Generation 4: Jeremy TOWLE was born to Caleb TOWLE II and Rebecca PRESCOTT on 19 June 1745 in Kingston, New Hampshire. He married Mary SARGENT, daughter of Winthrop SARGENT and Phebe HEALEY, on 19 September 1765 in Hawke, New Hampshire. He died before 25 April 1825 in Hawke.

Generation 5: Judith TOWLE was born in Hawke, New Hampshire on 6 July 1783, to Jeremy TOWLE and Mary SARGENT. On 6 January 1802, Judith married Samuel SEVERANCE II, son of Samuel SEVERANCE I and Hannah WINSLOW. She died after 16 November 1864.

Ancestry line:

Philip TOWLE (d. 1696) m. Isabella AUSTIN
Caleb TOWLE I (1678-1765) m. Zipporah BRACKETT
Caleb TOWLE II (1701-1795) m. Rebecca PRESCOTT
Jeremy TOWLE (1745-1825) m. Mary SARGENT
Judith TOWLE (1783-aft 1864) m. Samuel SEVERANCE
Mary "Polly" SEVERANCE (1805-1889) m. William WINSLOW
James W. WINSLOW (1838-1906) m. Elizabeth A. MACE
Bessie Maud WINSLOW (1889-1970) m. Frank Bailey PALMER
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
Shirley Ann HOWES (1937-1999) m. Joel David KRANTZBERG (1933-2017)

August 12, 2015

The Scarlett Letter and a real-life 17th century scandal

My mind has just been blown.

On his blog New England Folklore, Peter Muise has a fascinating post about how a scandal involving the fourth wife of my ancestor Reverend Stephen Batchelder may have inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne's most famous novel.

August 8, 2015

Thomas B. Mace's Civil War enlistment papers

My fourth cousin Jon recently moved to Rockingham, New Hampshire. He took a trip to the New Hampshire Archives to see if he could find any information on our common 3x great-uncle Thomas B. Mace. He served in the 2nd New Hampshire Infantry in Company K, and was killed at Battle of Williamsburg on 5 May 1862 at the tender age of 19.

Jon found Thomas's enlistment papers, and was kind enough to send them to me and give me permission to share them here.

The papers provide some interesting pieces of information:

The papers confirm that Thomas joined the army voluntarily, although he apparently needed the permission of his stepfather, Joseph Fellows; Fellows had been married to my 3x-great-grandmother Sophronia (nee Bly) for about two years.

Joseph Fellows calls himself Thomas's "father-in-law", not "stepfather." Today, "father-in-law" strictly means father of one's spouse, but evidently it had a looser meaning back then, literally "one's lawful father", which could include the children of one's spouse. Following this, a "sister-in-law" could be a stepsister, and a "brother-in-law" a stepbrother. This is something I didn't realize-- and something to keep in mind when we run across these terms on probate records, wills, or censuses.

The enlistment documents also include an oath of loyalty to both the state of New Hampshire, and to the United States, and a promise to "observe and obey the orders of the Governor of this State, and the President of the United States, and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the laws of the State and the rules and articles of war of the United States, and the regulations which govern enlisted men."

A physical description of Thomas is also included-- according to this, he was 5'7", with dark hazel eyes, light brown hair, and a light complexion.

Lastly, and rather surprisingly, Thomas was illiterate; he made an x instead of signing his name. I would have expected an American man born in the 1840's to have had some schooling, at least enough to read and write some. I can only figure that he couldn't go to school because he was needed at home. Sophronia's first husband (and Thomas's father) John Mace disappeared in the late 1840's, when he was just a little boy. Sophronia didn't marry again until 1859, to Joseph Fellows. Sophronia herself was illiterate, so I suppose there was no one to teach Thomas.

It's sad to think that only eight months after he made his mark, agreeing to fight for the Union, he would die doing so, at an age where today he would be starting college.

Thanks to my cousin Jon, who is always so good about staying in touch and sharing information.

August 2, 2015

WINSLEY/WINSLOW of Salisbury, Massachusetts and Kingston, New Hampshire

My great-grandmother's surname was Winslow, but as I traced the name back, I found that the name had originally been Winsley. It seems to have mutated into Winslow in the early 1700's.

I trace back to my 10th great-grandparents John Winsley and Elizabeth Paddy through three lines.

Generation 1a: Samuel Winsley I was born about 1597 in Colchester, England to John Winsley and Elizabeth Paddy. He married Elizabeth Randall about 1634 in Salisbury, Massachusetts. He died in Salisbury on 2 June 1663.

Generation 1b: Mary Winsley was born about 1592 in Colchester, England to John Winsley and Elizabeth Paddy. She married Phillip Fowler about 1610 in England, and she died on 30 August 1659 in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Generation 2: Ephraim Winsley was born to Samuel Winsley and Elizabeth Randall on 15 April 1641 in Salisbury, Massachusetts. On 26 March 1668, in Salisbury, Massachusetts, he married Mary Greeley, daughter of Andrew Greeley and Mary Moyce. Ephraim died on 8 October 1709 in Salisbury.

Generation 3: Samuel Winslow II was born to Ephraim Winsley and Mary Greeley on 21 December 1670 in Salisbury, Massachusetts. He married Catherine Stevens, daughter of Benjamin Stevens and Hannah Barnard, on 29 April 1696 in Salisbury. He was killed by Indians on 22 July 1710 in Kingston, New Hampshire.

Generation 4: Samuel Winslow III was born in Salisbury, Massachusetts on 26 November 1700 to Samuel Winslow II and Catherine Stevens. On 2 January 1723, he married Huldah Swett, daughter of John Swett and Bethia Page, in Hampton, New Hampshire. He married, second, Frances Tucker, in Amesbury, Massachusetts, on 1 May 1739. Samuel's probate records show that he died in March of 1787. I descend from Samuel from two of his children-- a son by his first wife Huldah, and a daughter by second wife Frances Tucker.

Generation 5a: John Winslow II was born to Samuel Winslow III and Huldah Swett on 10 December 1729 in Kingston, New Hampshire. He married Elizabeth French, daughter of Benjamin French and Ruth Huntoon, in Kingston on 8 December 1763. John died on 15 May 1816 in Kingston.

Generation 5b: Hannah Winslow was born to Samuel Winslow III and Frances Tucker on 22 April 1743 in Kingston, New Hampshire. On 9 August 1768, she married Samuel Severance, son of Jonathan Severance and Katherine Tucker, in Kingston, New Hampshire. Hannah and Samuel were first cousins, as their mothers were sisters. Samuel served briefly as a patriot soldier during the War for Independence, and he was at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Hannah's death date is unknown.

Generation 6: John Winslow III was born on 28 November 1774 in Kingston, New Hampshire, to John Winslow II to and Elizabeth French. On 14 April 1796, in Kingston, he married Mary Webster, daughter of Captain Jacob Webster and Elizabeth George. He died on 26 November 1848 in Kingston.
A page of the will of John Winslow III (1774-1848), courtesy of

Generation 7: William Winslow was born to John Winslow II and Mary Webster in Kingston on 20 December 1800. He was married to Mary "Polly" Severance, daughter of Samuel Severance and Judith Towle, on 26 February 1824 in Kingston. On the evening of 13 February 1860, he left a gathering to walk home, but never made it. The next morning, when he hadn't returned home, a search party found William in the woods, suffering from exposure. He died shortly after being found and brought to his house.

Generation 8: James W. Winslow was born to William Winslow and Mary "Polly" Severance on 10 March 1838 in Kingston, New Hampshire. He married, first, Mary A. Smith on 27 February 1861; they had four daughters, and Mary died of dropsy on 23 July 1876. By 1880 James was living with Elizabeth A. Mace Bean, daughter of John Mace and Sophronia Bly, and wife of Napoleon Bean. No marriage record can be found for James and Elizabeth, and no divorce record was found for Elizabeth and Napoleon. Napoleon was still giving himself as married in the 1880 and 1900 census records, though no wife is listed in his household, and Elizabeth's tombstone reads "Elizabeth Bean." It is therefore most likely that Elizabeth was never formally divorced from Napoleon, and that she and James never formally married. They had four children together, but only one-- my great-grandmother Bessie-- survived infancy.

Generation 9: Bessie Maud Winslow was born to James W. Winslow and Elizabeth Mace on 30 May 1886 in South Hampton, New Hampshire. She married Frank Bailey Palmer on 1 October 1906 in Raymond, New Hampshire. Bessie died on 17 August 1970.

Ancestry line #1

John WINSLEY I (b. 1569) m. Elizabeth PADDY
Samuel WINSLEY (1597-1663) m. Elizabeth RANDALL
Ephraim WINSLEY (1641-1709) m. Mary GREELEY
Samuel WINSLEY II (1670-1710) m. Catherine STEVENS
Samuel WINSLEY III (b. 1700) m. Huldah SWETT
John WINSLOW II ( 1729-1816) m. Elizabeth FRENCH
John WINSLOW III (1774-1848) m. Mary "Polly" WEBSTER
William WINSLOW (1800-1860) m. Mary "Polly" SEVERANCE
James W. WINSLOW (1838-1906) m. Elizabeth A. MACE
Bessie Maud WINSLOW (1886-1970) m. Frank Bailey PALMER
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. Howes (1937-1999) m. my father

Ancestry line #2

John WINSLEY (b. 1569) m Elizabeth PADDY
Samuel WINSLEY (1597-1663) m. Elizabeth RANDALL
Ephraim WINSLEY (1641-1709) m. Mary GREELEY
Samuel WINSLEY II (1670-1710) m. Catherine STEVENS
Samuel WINSLEY III (b. 1700) m. Frances TUCKER
Hannah WINSLOW (b. 1743) m. Samuel SEVERANCE
Samuel SEVERANCE (1775-1836) m. Judith TOWLE
Mary "Polly" SEVERANCE (1805-1889) m. William WINSLOW
James W. WINSLOW (1838-1906) m. Elizabeth A. MACE
Bessie Maud WINSLOW (1886-1970) m. Frank Bailey PALMER
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. Howes (1937-1999) m. my father

Ancestry line # 3

John WINSLEY (b. 1569) m. Elizabeth PADDY
Mary WINSLEY (1592-1659) m. Philip FOWLER
Samuel FOWLER (1618-1711) m. Margaret NORMAN
Samuel FOWLER (1663-1737) m. Hannah WORTHEN
Samuel FOWLER (b. 1685) m. Jemima CLOUGH
Hannah FOWLER (b. 1717) m. John EATON
Jemima EATON (1747-1791) m. Christopher CROSS
Christopher CROSS II (b. 1785) m. Ann WRIGHT
Rachel CROSS (1809-1911) m. Thomas PARKER
Margaret PARKER (1829-1913) m. Christopher SIMMONDS
Thomas Parker SIMMONDS (1871-1953) m. Jessie May BAKER
Estelle May SIMMONDS (1893-1930) m. Horace William HOWES
Henry Richard HOWES (1913-1987) m. Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father