Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Grand Adventure-Looking for Relatives Part 2

A Share from Margaret T. Deiotte 


A good day at the library. I spent six hours with one file of correspondence that Nathan Goold sent out in 1893/4 to every Tukey relative he could find to try and put the Tukey family genealogy together. A Herculean job given he only had phone books, the postal service and various relatives to pass the information along.

In the file I found 3 letters from Stephen H. Tukey (gg grandfather). He provided lots of information that he had copied from his mother's bible (which went from Maine to California and back with Stephen's brother Francis) and from his grandmother's bible (which was burned in the Portland fire of 1866). The information filled in some gaps with his brothers and sisters and also revealed that there were several Tukeys in Boston and at least one in New York, both places that he moved to after leaving Portland which may have provided connections in those cities.

From Stephen's letter and those of M.M. Tukey, we learn that the original John probably had a brother by the name of William. Also, the immigration from England was to Malden, MA where John worked as a shipwright before moving to Portland. The librarian informed me that it would have been unlikely for a ship in 1744 to come directly from England, so I need to look for John in Massachusetts. [As a side light, there is a John Tuckey who was a ship master sailing between England and Jamaica in 1702. This gives me a ship's name to track down since passenger records are listed by ship, not by date.] Several other letters support the original name as being Tuckey, including the following from Stephen:
"When making those visits back to Portland it was my pleasure to call upon Uncle William and his daughter Mrs. Sarah Chase.. On one occasion she brought from the closet a large pitcher which had the name of Tuckey on it. She told me it was part of a set of ware manufactured for the Tuckey's and brought to this country by John. That Tuckey was the original way of spelling it but when he came to this country he dropped the 'c'."
This set included a punch bowl and cups and was mentioned by other family members. Of course there is also another family crest involved in this - not the one we have from grandpa Tukey. Also with Rufus Tukey's descendants are the cannon ball that landed in William Tukey's bedroom when Mowat attacked Portland in 1775 (obviously it didn't disappear in the Portland fire), some grapeshot and a spike that belonged to Tallyrand. Great family stories - who knows if they are true.

An interesting sidelight. Nathan Goold wrote and heard back from a John Tukey in Port Townsend, WA. This John Tukey left Portland at an early age and sailed around the horn in 1852. He came to Puget Sound in 1853 and stayed. His letter was hard to read. It was several pages but only about 3 sentences - very run on. He talks about serving in the militia and fighting Indians and that he has a life he loves that is much better than that in Maine.

Next Day


A glorious day in Maine. Barbara picked me up and off we went for a two hour schooner cruise around Portland's harbor. Sponsored by the Maine Historical Society, the cruise featured a perspectives on the history of the area as well as gorgeous views of lighthouses, islands, and rocky shores.

We had a late lunch on the water front and then headed to the Maine Historical Society for one quick hour of research.
We found another gold mine of preserved papers on our family - not nearly enough time to get through them. We will have to start again on Tuesday. We did find a will of Ezekiel Cushing plus other Cushing family data which tie three generations together (Hannah Cushing [who married Stephen Tukey], her father Jeremiah and her grandfather Ezekiel). To give you a flavor of Ezekiel's six page will, I have copied the opening paragraph:
"In the name of God amen. I Ezekiel Cushing of Falmouth in this County of Cumberland and the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England. Esq. being disordered in the body but of sound mind and memory (Blessed be God) calling to mind that it is appointed to all men to die, do this eleventh day of April in the fifth year of the reign of George the third, King of Great Britain, reg, and in the year of our Lord 1765 make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following."
I love the language, so different than the shortened, spare prose of current times. We also got leads on land grants and property exchanges (they are indexed in paper form through 1735 then indexed and preserved on microfilm for 1735-1800). The originals should be at the Cumberland County courthouse. We shall see - more tasks for Monday and Tuesday. More miscellany - We will not find a will for John Tukey since there was a fire in the courthouse in the early 1800s so the only wills and probates available are from 1808 forward - unless copies have been preserved by the family. We may be able to find Abigail Sweetser Tukey's since she died in 1837.
We then ran over to the Portland Public Library (open til 5pm). There we found lists of marriages which Barbara copied and I found several land transfers witnessed or participated in by Seth Sweetser, Ezekiel Cushing, or Jeremiah Cushing. The deeds establish that these 3 men were in Portland/Falmouth by 1731 - nice to have a verified date.
That's all for today. Ghost tour at the cemetery tomorrow!

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