Saturday, October 5, 2019

A Haunted Heritage Strange Sightings and Sounds at Ancestral Home

The Barnett family made headlines at Dent’s Palace in Dentsville, Maryland. Reports of nebulous sightings and strange tapping sounds were coming from a Continental Army officer, a young woman, a peg-legged Confederate, and one yellow cat.

According to the Barnetts, the ghosts are explainable and have a connection to the home. The Continental Army officer was from the ancestral seat of one of Southern Maryland’s prominent early settlers, John Dent (1709-1791), who built the home. He married Mary Hatch, daughter of Captain John Hatch. The apparition of the young woman is believed to be the Dents’ granddaughter, Ann Dent Bean, the youngest daughter of Captain Hezekiah Dent.

The Confederate soldier, according to local lore, died while he was given refuge at Dent’s Palace. As for the cat, no one was sure, but it was definitely a paranormal stray. Until then, the most celebrated ghost in the neighborhood was known as Blue Dog.

Dent’s Palace hostess Lillian Bowling Middleton Barnett (1918-2011), nicknamed "Cotton Tops" or "Cotton" because of her sparkling taffy hair, was one of Maryland’s biggest socialites. She was the daughter of Arthur Joseph Middleton and Mary Ethel Burch (Swaim).

Lillian was an artist, antique collector, and a history buff. Her mother, Mary, came who came to live with the family, was the daughter of Mary Caroline "Carrie" Gardiner, a descendant of Richard Gardiner of the Charles County militia. The mother-daughter team opened the home for garden parties and occasional historic tours for the Daughters of the American Revolution and other organizations.

Lillian and her husband, Arnold William Barnett, purchased Dent’s Palace in 1958. Their four children either witnessed the specters or felt a presence. Also, a maid who reported sightings was featured in one of the newspaper stories.

The estate was big enough for everyone, even for the spirited whiskers who Lillian told reporters spent most of his time in the dining room. The estate was a beautiful 12-room brick mansion and the grounds had the setting for a good haunt— a burial plot dated before the Revolution. The home was built in 1720 and two additions dating 1730 and 1750 made it a “telescope structure.”

The original locks, doors, and floors were still intact. The Barnetts never made renovations as they did not want to disturb their “housemates.”

In 1972, the family told a reporter that the peg-legged Confederate was the first to make contact and was not shy about it. On the first night in their new home, he made a persistent shuffle, tap, shuffle, tap sound. They assumed the tapping code was the wooden leg. The soldier allegedly died on the third floor from a battle wound.

The tall officer in the Continental Army uniform visited often and was usually hanging around the fire “gazing pensively into the flames.” Which brave Dent hero was feeling a little chilly on the other side? It’s hard to say, but during their lifetime they were hot-tempered patriots and fought in the Revolutionary War.

Captain Hezekiah Dent received his commission in 1777, as First Lieutenant of Captain Isaac McPherson's Company of the Lower Battalion of Charles County Militia. In 1779, he was raised to Captain of the 12th Battalion of Militia.

Hezekiah’s widow, Martha, sold the property to their youngest daughter, Ann, who married Thomas O. Bean. Ann died in childbirth in 1839 at age 28. Her spirit, often spotted near the kitchen, had encounters with Lillian and her mother on more than one occasion.

Lillian noted the spirit’s extensive wardrobe in one interview with reporter Jim Birchfield in the Evening Star Washington in 1960. “She appeared in several different dresses,” Lillian said, “and she always had her hair covered by something resembling a scarf.”

No one in the Barnett home were spooked or wanted to move. Lillian, whose art studio was on the top floor, told the press, “Our ghosts are not poltergeist—they’re nice and friendly!” However, Lillian may have felt more at home communing with dead. Her Burch ancestor married a Dent from the homestead. That would be Captain Hezekiah Dent and Martha Burch, daughter of John Burch and Mary Ann Burch, who married in 1774.

Now are you getting chills?

Notable Kinfolks

Reverend Hatch Dent Jr. was commissioned an Ensign in Smallwood’s battalion. A Third Lieutenant in the Ninth Company (Light Infantry) of the First Maryland Regiment, he fought in the Battle of Long Island and was captured by the enemy. He spent several grueling months in one of the infamous British prison ships in Wallabout Bay. In 1777, he was promoted to captain in the Second Maryland Regiment. After the war, he became an eminent teacher and minister of the Church, having been ordained by Bishop Seabury in 1785.

George Dent served as first lieutenant of militia of Charles and St. Mary's counties under Captain Thomas H. Marshall, and as first lieutenant in the Third Battalion of the Flying Camp Regular Troops of Maryland in 1776. He was also appointed a captain in the Twenty-sixth Battalion of the Maryland Militia in 1778. After the war, he served as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate.


  • Collamer, Newton L., ed. “The Dent Family in America.” The Historical Bulletin: Devoted to Genealogy, Patriotism and Historical Research, Volume VII (1905).
  • Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties, Connecticut: Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and of many of the Early Settled Families, Volume 1 Chicago: J. H. Beers, 1903.
  • Hamer, Olga S. “Dent’s Place, Part 1.” The Record, Number 23 (1981). 
  • Lloyd, Daniel Boone. The Middletons and Kindred Families of Southern Maryland. Bethesda, Md.: the author, 1975. 
  • Love, Philip. “Three Ghosts, or Is It Four?” Toledo Blade, January 24, 1972. 
  • Newman, Wright Harry. Charles County Gentry: A Genealogical History of Six Emigrants - Thomas Dent, John Dent, Richard Edelen, John Hanson, George Newman, Humphrey Warren. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1940. 
  • Okonowicz, Ed. The Big Book of Maryland Ghost Stories Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2010.
  • Ullmann, Helen Schatvet. Colony of Connecticut, Minutes of the Court of Assistants, 1669—1711. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Edward Phelps and Grace Moore Garland

Edward Phelps (1871-1927) son Francis Henry Phelps (1840-1877) and Esther Antoinette Hall (1846-1938) direct descendant of Edward Phelps and Elizabeth Adams of Newbury, Massachusetts. He married Grace Moore Garland (1873-1963) daughter of Freeman Garland (1839-1907) and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Sarah Moore (1839-1911). Edward listed in NH census as Railroad mechanic.
Children Wallace E Phelps (1899-1980) married Alice Holt (1887-1980), Esther Elizabeth Phelps (1907-2002) married Louis Homer Bemis (1907-1972) of Connecticut.

Grace Garland Phelps
Woodland Cemetery Nashua, New Hampshire Find A Grave

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Judge Amos Morrill and Miranda Dickson

Amos Morrill (1809-1894) son of Abraham Morrill (1776-1862) and Mary "Polly" Bagley (1778-1847) born in Salisbury, Massachusetts. From the Bartlett family collection Salisbury MA

Mary Dickson Morrill from the Bartlett family collection Salisbury MA
He married Nov. 2, 1843 Miranda Dickson (1826-1906) daughter of Joseph Dickson ( - 1830) and Sally Lattimer (1803-1891). 
Morrill graduated Bowdoin College in 1834 and began practicing law in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 1836. He partnered with Miranda's brother, Joseph J. Dickson until he moved to Austin, and formed a partnership with Gov. Andrew J. Hamilton.
On January 18, 1872, Morrill was nominated by President Ulysses Granta United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Source: Texas Jurists Collection, Rare Books & Special Collections, Tarlton Law Library

Photos from blog Flash Back Dallas The Morrill's home and Jordon Moore who worked for Mrs Morrill. An amazing article by Paula Bosse

Obit for Sally Lattimore Dickson Moore

George Williamson Kingsbury and Medfield Massachusetts

These Photographs are from my grandmother Mildred Mabel Phelps (1909-1995) d. of Frederick Winsor Phelps (1877-1947) and Melissa Cross Davenport (1847-1910). Mildred married Robert Levi Berry (1907-1988). 
Mildred grew up on Spring Street Medfield, Massachusetts in the Kingsbury homestead. She came to live them with when at 9 months of age after her mother died.  
Her Uncle Allan Alanzo Kingsbury (son of George Williamson Kingsbury) and his wife, Lillian Phelps. The photo of Mildred and one of the Kingsbury relatives was in Medfield, MA. Please contact me if you have any ancestors connected to these family lines and photos. Thank you! 

George Williamson Kingsbury (1838-1912) son of Amos Plympton Kingsbury and Almira Williamson. He married Olive Atra Smith (1839-1925) daughter of Clark Smith and Carolina Morse. Children: Alan Alanzo Kingsbury (1865-1952) married Lillian Lord Phelps (1861-1951), 2. Waldo Emerson Kingsbury (1869-1917) married Chilla Murtin Byrd (11873-1900) and 2nd Wilma Eva Bowden (1872-1957) 

Alan Alanzo Kingsbury (1865-1952) s. of George Williamson Kingsbury and his wife Lillian Lord Phelps (1861-1951) daughter of Francis Henry Phelps and Esther Antoinette Hall  Children: Captain Francis Henry Kingsbury (1889-1969) married Effie Louis Holder (1892-1984), 2. Amos Clark Kingsbury (1897-1955) married Blanche Louise Marcionette (1896-1987), 3. Carlton Winsor Kingsbury (1893-1963) married Mildred Florence Atwood (1893-1967), 4. Margaret Pearl Kingsbury (1891-1979) married Harry Mirick Rowell (1881-1968)

Kingsbury Homestead Medfield, Massachusetts
Kingsbury Homestead Medfield, MA 1931

Photo of Carlton Winsor Kingsbury (1893-1963), Priscilla Kingsbury (1917-2002), George Kingsbury, Allan Alanzo Kingsbury (1926-2013), Lillian Phelps Kingsbury (1861-1951), and Esther A Hall Phelps (1846-1938)
Priscilla Kingsbury with Robert Levi Berry, JR Medfield MA
Robert Levi Berry SR and son Robert Levi Berry JR in Medfield MA Kingsbury homestead
Jean Berry and Robert Levi Berry at the Kingsbury homestead in Medfield, MA

Jean, Robert, and Carlton Berry in Medfield, Ma at Kingsbury homestead
Priscilla Kingsbury with Robert Berry JR 1932
Esther A Hall Phelps in Medfield, MA

Photo from The Mystery of Medfield's 'Lady of Route 27' by Richard DeSorgher: For 61 years she has stood guard over Spring Street and Route 27. Except for a brief move to the property behind the Sewer Treatment Plant off Bridge Street in 1990-1991, she has constantly observed the travelers heading north on Route 27.
She has no official name, she is uniquely Medfield and she remains a mystery in the conversations people have while driving by; “Who is that a statue of?”  “Is she a famous Medfield person?"  “Why is she located there on the former Kingsbury Homestead property?”  “Was she a Kingsbury?” 
She clearly remains the most visible Medfield mystery. The above description is, of course, referring to the statue that sits on the knoll above Preservation Way, on the side of Spring Street and Route 27 and across from Kingsbury Pond. What is the story behind the majestic lady that looks out inquisitively from her stone perch, always watching and waiting year after year?
The story begins in 1950 when Amos Clark Kingsbury, owner of the Kingsbury Homestead and antique shop on 145 Spring St., notices the statue sitting high above a granite quarry while visiting the town of Addison, Maine.
Addison, Maine is located in Down East Maine’s Washington County. Addison was known for shipbuilding and quarrying. There were 83 vessels built there between 1800 and 1900 and four major granite quarries in operation. By 1958 both industries had disappeared and with the closing of the last quarry, the population reached a low point of 744. Right away Amos took a liking to the statue.
“It resembles my mother (Lillian Phelps Kingsbury),” he exclaimed. Purchasing the statue, he had it moved from high above the Addison Quarry to his property in Medfield. Who was the lady turned statue? Why was she placed overlooking the quarry in Addison, Maine? This we will never know. Once she arrived in Medfield, she was placed outside the antique shop, which in earlier times, was the homestead’s slaughter house.
Amos Clark Kingsbury was a Medfield native and graduate of the Medfield High School Class of 1916. During WWI he served in the U.S. Marines, American Expeditionary Force, and fought in literally all the major battles in France. Returning home after the war, he became a charter member of Beckwith Post 110, American Legion.
After the death of his parents he inherited the family 75-acre Homestead on 145 Spring St. Here he founded the Medfield School of Art, which was located in the main barn. The School later became the Medfield Art Galleries, an early forerunner resembling today’s Zullo Gallery. It attracted artists and crowds from throughout New England. Kingsbury also served the Town of Medfield for 35 years as our tax collector. He married Blanche Marcionette on June 25, 1955. Diagnosed with cancer, he died on Dec. 15, 1955. Blanche continued to run the homestead and now antique shop until her death on March 15, 1987.
With the marriage to Blanche Marcionette, the property left the hands of the Kingsbury family and having no children, her nephew Phil Ford inherited the homestead. The property was subdivided, with the Town of Medfield buying Kingsbury Pond and developer Ralph Costello the land and homestead across from the pond.
In 1990 Ford then donated the statue to the Town of Medfield and it was moved to the rear of the Sewer Treatment Plant waiting the town’s decision as to its next location. However, developer Costello told the town that he would welcome the statue back on the land and would donate the land the statue stands on to the town so that it would remain public property. It is today the only statue owned by the citizens of Medfield and it continues to look out over Rt. 27, watching and waiting, as it has for the past 61 years.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Fairbanks Family and Dedham Massachusetts Mystery

1902 FAIRBANKS family reunion at the old homestead in Dedham, Massachusetts. For full PDF of this article please contact me
The annual Fairbanks reunions started in 1902 to celebrate the repurchase of the house. In Life Magazine (1902) "The Fairbanks family in America has thought of a new thing to do. It is about to have itself incorporated as a society for the collection and preservation of all matters pertaining to the history of the family. The society's headquarters will be the old Fairbanks house in Dedham, Massachusetts, which will be bought for it, and there the records of the Fairbankses will be kept. This scheme has grown out of a Fairbanks reunion, which was held last August in Dedham. There are more than four thousand families now existing in America that trace descent from the original Fairbanks, and a fair proportion of them are solvent, so that the purchase and endowment of the family headquarters presents no difficulties. Having fun with one's forbears is one of the cheapest and most innocent forms of diversion the times afford. It is more interesting than postage-stamp collecting, and even when it runs to excess, as it sometimes does, it is not nearly so deleterious as the liquor habit. The Fairbanks family will get good returns from their investment, and we shall probably see other families following their example." more at Fairbanks house museum:

I have added this to my must read list, but if you have read "A Massachusetts Mystery:" The 1801 tragedy of Jason Fairbanks and Elizabeth Fales 
please let me know your thoughts!
"On May 18, 1801 eighteen-year-old Elizabeth Fales died in a pasture in Dedham, Massachusetts. That August her twenty-year-old boyfriend Jason Fairbanks went on trial for her murder. The Fairbanks/Fales case was the celebrity trial of its day, captivating the American public with its gory tale of love and betrayal. The 'Report of the trial of Jason Fairbanks' and 'The solemn declaration of the late unfortunate Jason Fairbanks' were published within months of Jason's execution. They present the cases for the prosecution and the defense, telling a true crime story as mysterious today as on the day Elizabeth Fales died."--Page 4 of cover. Photo from Amazon.Com

Historic New England has old photos Ref  PC001.01.TMP.180
  • Miner Descent blog
  • Recent Fairbanks Reunion 
  • There’s No House In The World Like This One Near Boston
  • The old Fairbanks house: J. Wilder Fairbank  
  • The House that Fairbanks built - and furnished with ghosts 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Samuel Foster Jaques of Newburyport Massachusetts

From R-L Samuel Foster Jaques (1865-1916) and J R McColl, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville from 1896-1902.  Ca. 1891-92 C.M. McClung Historical Collection, Knox County Public Library

Samuel Foster Jaques born in Newburyport, MA on November 29, 1865 son of Edmund Jaques (1826-1899) and Rachel Ann Foster (1826-1906).

Edmund Jaques (1826-1899) son of William Jaques (18-00-1832) and Elizabeth Savory (1801-1876) of Newbury, Massachusetts
Captain Richard Jaques (1771-1851) grandfather of Samuel Foster Jacques

Samuel married Abbie Parish Noyes (1861-1957) daughter of Joseph Hale Noyes (1825-1896) and Abbie Maria Young (1828-1871) Below from 'Obituary record of the graduates of Bowdoin College.."

Abbie was a teacher with the New West Education Commission and she is in the photo below taken in 1890 from the project of the Utah Women's History Association and cosponsored by the Utah State Historical Society (see Abbie Parish Noyes Papers -Utah State Historical Society and Newburyport Blog)

Samuel Foster Jaques

 According to an obit published in "Journal of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers," Mr. Jaques was educated in the public schools of Newburyport and then started to learn the engraver's trade. In 1886 he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he remained two years. From I887 to I891 he was with Wm. H. Whitney, of Boston, Mass., and from there went South to Tennessee and Georgia on engineering work. During 1892 he was engaged on preliminary sewer work in Brockton, Mass., and after a short engagement with Aspinwall & Lincoln, of Boston, in 1893, he returned to Brockton.
Jaques entered the engineering service of the United States Government at Portland Head, Maine and went from there to Dover, N. H. During I895 he was in the employ of F. Herbert Snow, then city engineer of Brockton, Mass. In 1896 Mr. Jaques was with George A. Kimball on sewer construction in Arlington, Mass., and with Percy M. Blake in 1897-98, at Hyde Park, Mass. From I898 to 1903 Mr. Jaques was in the city engineer's office at Worcester, Mass., and from there went to Dover, N. H., where he was engaged in private engineering practice until I905. He went to Lestershire, N. Y., to construct a sewer system for Morrison & Farrington, of Syracuse, N. Y., and entered the employ of the city of Binghamton, N. Y., as assistant city engineer in I905, which position he held until his untimely death. Mr. Jaques joined the Boston Society of Civil Engineers in I903. He was a member of the Binghamton Engineering Society; Binghamton Lodge No. 77, F. & A. M.; Binghamton Chapter No. 139, R. A. M., and Malta Commandery No. 21, Knights Templar. In his religious life he was a Congregationalist, and was a very active and faithful worker in the church. He was a man of quiet tastes, and was very devoted to his family and profession. Uniformly kind, courteous and considerate of others, he enjoyed a wide circle of friends.

  • Jaques Family Genealogy Roger Jaques R. Jaques and P. Jacques, 1995 
  • Noyes Genealogy 
  •  The Sons and Daughters of the First Settlers of Newbury MA