Showing posts with label topsfield ma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label topsfield ma. Show all posts

Monday, February 18, 2019

Family Photos Nathaniel Gould and Rachel Peabody

Ruthie Stearns shared some photos and working on the genealogy Hope to connect with families who have these lines or branches close! Thanks
Mary Ann Potter Gould (1804-1900) daughter of Benjamin Potter (1791-1827) and Anna Kinsman (1773-1869). Wife of Allen Gould (1785-1865). Son Nathaniel married Rachel Perkins Peabody. Mary Ann Potter descendant of Jeremiah Kinsman of Ipswich, MA through her maternal side.
Anna Kinsman (1773-1869) daughter of William Kinsman (1752-1843) and Anna Brown (1758-1849). Granddaughter of Jeremiah Kinsman of Ipswich, MA Photo From "Candlewood, an Ancient Neighborhood in Ipswich: With Genealogies of John Brown, William Fellows, Robert Kinsman" Thomas Franklin Waters Salem, MA Press 1909

Mary Ann Potter Gould in Topsfield, Massachusetts

Nathaniel Gould (1831-1898) son of Allen Gould (1785-1865) and Mary Ann Potter (1804-1900) married Rachel A Perkins Peabody (1830-1874) daughter of Jacob Peabody (1764-1845) and Elizabeth "Betsy" Perkins (1796-1849). Nathaniel's Gould line (Allen, Nathaniel, Thomas JR, Thomas SR, Capt John, Zaccheus) more on family see Miner Descent and  Nutfield Genealogy
Nettie Florence Gould (1863-1948) daughter of Nathaniel Gould and Rachel Peabody married William Dennett Stearns (1867-1947) son of Joseph Oliver Stearns (1838-1917) and Helen "Nell" Dennett (1843-1874) see AnceStoryArchives  Netti Florence Gould and William Stearns Family: Son: Howard Oliver Stearns (1891-1966) married Maybelle North (1898-1980) daughter of William Lloyd North and Sarah Francis Daugherity (1867-1903). Daughter: Helen Rachel Stearns (1895-1975) no issue. 
Clara Brown Gould (1852-1903) daughter of Nathaniel Gould and Rachel Peabody married wife George H Welch (1850-1943) married October 1 1873. Children: George Clifton Welch ( married Anna Wooley daughter of John Wooley and Mary Marshall
George H Welch (1850-1943) son of Rev Francis Welch (1805-1894) and Harriet Atwood Conant (1818-1886)
Noted in "Philip Welch of Ipswich, Massachusetts, 1654: and his descendants" Alexander McMillan Welch

Harriet Atwood Conant (1818-1886) daughter of William Conant (1772-1858) and Ruth Foster (1781-1857) --wife of Rev Francis Welch (1805-1894) son of Joseph Welch JR (1768-1845) and ? Sargent (1771-1838) According to Daughters of the American Revolution records, Col Joseph Welch SR (1738-1828) served in Thomas Tash's regiment in Durham, NH and was a friend of General Washington's He married Hannah Chase (1738-1823) daughter of Francis Chase (1715-1805) and Sarah Pike (1715-1794)

Annie Kinsman Gould (1861-) daughter of Nathaniel Gould and Rachel Peabody--wife of Forrest O Jones (1864-1932) son of Thomas Jones of Maine
Home of Annie Kinsman Gould Jones and husband Forrest Jones 126 Main Street  Plaistow, NH.
Forrest O Jones the man with the mustache in Plaistow, NH
Melvin Watson Gould (1856-1929) son of Nathaniel Gould and Rachel Peabody. He married Mary Elizabeth Smith (1860-1931)
Nathaniel Lewis Gould (1859-1945) son of Nathaniel Gould and Rachel Peabody married Ida H Peasle (1859-1943) daughter of Reuben Peaslee and Cynthia ?. Daughter Alice Mabel Gould (1886-1975) married Winthrop Francis Dodge
Nathaniel Lewis Gould with niece Helen Rachel Sterns (1895-1975)
Helen R Stearns, Nathaniel Lewis Gould, Nettie Florence Gould Stearns, and Melvin Gould

Helen Rachel Stearns and Nathaniel Lewis Gould

Nathaniel Lewis Gould with family

Walter Scott Gould (1853-1954) son of Nathaniel Gould and Rachel Peabody. He married Winifred Flynn (1851-1917) daughter of Thomas Flynn and Winifred Burns. Children Florence Gould (1880-1966) and Fred Lewis Gould (1881-1941)

Willie Potter Gould (1868-1904) son of Nathaniel and Rachel Peabody. He married Alice Danforth (1868) daughter of Steven Bailey Danforth (1825-1897) and Lucy Ann Chase (1830-1907) Children: Leslie Harold Gould (1891-1901)
Standing Nettie Florence Gould,  Annie Kinsman Gould and
Clara Brown Gould daughters of Nathaniel Gould and Rachel Peabody.
William Dennett Stearns, Nettie Florence Gould, Helen Rachel Stearns, Melvin Gould, Annie Gould Jones and Forrest Jones

Another son born to Nathaniel Gould and Rachel Peabody was Justin Gould (1866-1911) married Catherine Moynihan Children: Elizabeth L Ruddy 

Maria Louisa Peabody (1811-1907) sister of Rachel Perkins Peabody. Married John Marshall

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Condemned 1692 Salem Witch & Her Husband Speak Out

A Share from 

Ulrich Molitor. De Lamiis et Phitonicis Mulieribus, 1493

Mary Towne Easty, the daughter of William Towne & Joanna Blessing Towne of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, was baptized on August 24, 1634. One of 8 children, she & her family sailed for Massachusettes around 1640.

Mary married Isaac Easty in 1655, in Topsfield, Massachusetts. Isaac, a successful farmer, was born in England on November 27, 1627. Together the couple had 12 children. Two of Easty's sisters, Rebecca Nurse & Sarah Cloyse, were also accused of witchcraft during the Salem outbreak.

At the time of her questioning, Easty was about 58 years old. Her examination followed the pattern of most in Salem: girls had fits & were speechless at times. The magistrate became angry when she would not confess her guilt, which he deemed proven beyond doubt by the sufferings of the afflicted.

Easty was condemned to death on September 9, 1692. She was executed on September 22nd, despite an eloquent plea to the court to reconsider & not spill any more innocent blood. On the gallows she prayed for a end to the witch hunt.

Petition of Mary Easty To his Excellency S'r W'm Phipps: Govern'r and to the honoured Judge and Magistrates now setting in Judicature in Salem.

That whereas your poor and humble petitioner being condemned to die Doe humbly begg of you to take it into your Judicious and pious considerations that your Poor and humble petitioner knowing my own Innocencye Blised be the Lord for it and seeing plainly the wiles and subtility of my accusers by my Selfe can not but Judge charitably of others that are going the same way of my selfe if the Lord stepps not mightily in i was confined a whole month upon the same account that I am condemned now for and then cleared by the afflicted persons as some of your honours know and in two dayes time I was cryed out upon by them and have been confined and now am condemned to die the Lord above knows my Innocence then and Likewise does now as att the great day will be know to men and Angells -- I Petition to your honours not for my own life for I know I must die and my appointed time is sett but the Lord he knowes it is that if it be possible no more Innocent blood may be shed which undoubtidly cannot be Avoyded In the way and course you goe in I question not but your honours does to the uttmost of your Powers in the discovery and detecting of witchcraft and witches and would not be gulty of Innocent blood for the world but by my own Innocency I know you are in this great work if it be his blessed you that no more Innocent blood be shed I would humbly begg of you that your honors would be plesed to examine theis Afflicted Persons strictly and keep them apart some time and Likewise to try some of these confesing wichis I being confident there is severall of them has belyed themselves and others as will appeare if not in this wor[l]d I am sure in the world to come whither I am now agoing and I Question not but youle see and alteration of thes things they my selfe and others having made a League with the Divel we cannot confesse I know and the Lord knowes as will shortly appeare they belye me and so I Question not but they doe others the Lord above who is the Searcher of all hearts knows that as I shall answer att the Tribunall seat that I know not the least thinge of witchcraft therfore I cannot I dare not belye my own soule I beg your honers not to deny this my humble petition from a poor dying Innocent person and I Question not but the Lord will give a blesing to yor endevers.

Petitions for Compensation and Decision Concerning Compensation

Account of Isaac Easty -- Case of Mary Easty

Topsfield Septemb'r 8 th. 1710

Isaac Esty (Senior, about 82 years of age) of Topsfield in the county of Essex in N.E. having been sorely exercis'd through the holy & awful providence of God depriving him of his beloved wife Mary Esty who suffered death in the year 1692 & under the fearfull odium of one of the worst of crimes that can be laid to the charge of mankind, as if she had been guilty of witchcraft a peice of wickedness witch I beleeve she did hate with perfect hatered & by all that ever I could see by her never could see any thing by her that should give me any reason in the lest to think her guilty of anything of that nature but am firmly persuaded that she was innocent of it as any to such a shameful death-Upon consideration of a notification from the Honored Generall Court desiring my self & others under the like circumstances to give some account of what my Estate was damnify'd by reason of such a hellish molestation do hereby declare which may also be seen by comparing papers & records that my wife was near upon 5 months imprisioned all which time I provided maintenance for her at my own cost & charge, went constantly twice aweek to provide for her what she needed 3 weeks of this 5 months she was in prision at Boston & I was constrained to be at the charge of transporting her to & fro. So that I can not but think my charge in time and money might amount to 20 pounds besides my trouble & sorrow of heart in being deprived of her after such a manner which this world can never make me any compensation for.

I order and appoint my son Jacob Esty to carry this to the Honored Committee Appointed by the Honored Generall Court & are to meet at Salem Sept. 12, 1710. Dated this 8th of Sept. 1710.

Easty's family was compensated with 20 pounds from the government in 1711 for her wrongful execution.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Topsfield Resident: John Silsbee Lawrence & His Friendship with F.D.R.

Village Reporter Newspaper
 December 3, 2008

Part 3 by Elizabeth Coughlin,

Many residents of Topsfield know John Silsbee Lawrence’s house (located at 76 Campmeeting Road) but they don’t know who he was.  In fact, recently the Village Reporter had reported in an October 22 article that he was in the leather business, when actually it was cotton and textile.  Although his vast wealth made him an intriguing man, it was his “famous friends” that made him even more interesting.
John was born in Nahant in 1878 and first appeared in Topsfield in 1905 when he began buying land from several people- Wellington Donaldson, Adeline J. Perkins, Arthur F. Perkins, Mary T. Robinson, David S. Clarke and Margaret Y. Averill.  After his marriage to Emma Atherton in 1907, he began building his Topsfield summer house known as “Gravelly Brook Farm” in 1908.
John Lawrence was born into a very wealthy and privileged family.  In fact his great grandfather, Amos Lawrence was at one time one of the wealthiest men in America and a great philanthropist.  The family business called Lawrence and Co., was a cotton and textile business, a business John was a partner in. 
In 1894, while attending Groton Academy (later changed to Lawrence Academy- after John’s Grandfather) he met a very important and life long friend, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (F.D.R.).  Letters that they wrote to each other over the years are available at the F.D.R. Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park New York.  The letters reveal a dear old friendship, their sense of humor, a shared passion for boating and of course politics.
During WWI, John was an aide of Herbert Hoover in food and relief work.  Here is part of a letter written May 1, 1923, from John S. Lawrence to Franklin Delano Roosevelt- “I heard of you in Washington.  Hoover said he had had a nice talk with you, admired your courage and method of thought, although he said he didn’t always thoroughly agree with you.”
On March 4, 1933 John sent a telegram to F.D.R. that read, “With the Character of a Lincoln and the timing of a Coolidge your shot has gone around the world lead on New England is behind you,” John S. Lawrence.
What is so remarkable about this telegram is the date it was sent, Saturday, March 4, 1933.  This was the day of F.D.R.’s inaugural speech that contained his famous quote, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Besides politics they had a shared passion for boats.  That is probably why in 1923 they purchased a houseboat together called the Larooco, for Lawrence-Roosevelt Company.  F.D.R. used it mostly during the winter months to help with his poliomyelitis (polio).  Then in September of 1926 it was destroyed by a hurricane, although from the letters that were left it was evident that they both were ready to sell.
The letters that pertained to the Larooco, were made into a book written by Donald S. Carmichael: An introduction to the log of the Larooco: being chiefly the correspondence of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John S. Lawrence.  This rare book, of mostly correspondence letters between the two friends, can only be viewed at a few libraries such as the F.D.R. Presidential Library and Harvard.  Both F.D.R. and John were graduates from Harvard, John in 1901 and F.D.R. in 1904. 
John had a few other famous friends.  In 1924 he entertained the Prince of Wales at his Topsfield home.  Author, Joseph Garland, wrote about this visit in his book The North Shore.
 In 1937, his wife Emma Atherton passed away and in 1940 he married Helene Kellogg.
Then, in 1942, John Lawrence sold “Gravelly Brook Farm” to the Pym family and moved to Manchester, Massachusetts.

The Lawrence Home Today
Since 1979, the Lawrence home has been owned by Jonathan and Norma Peabody.  In September of this year, they celebrated the 100th anniversary of their home with a party.  Over 70 guests came to the event, including Jonathan’s 100 year old father Lester Peabody.  They enjoyed a written history of the home as well as a visual one.  They displayed interior and exterior photos of how the home looked when Lawrence owned it (photos that are in the custody of Historic New England).  The Peabody’s explained that part of their home, the north and south wings, are now gone.  The south wing had a ballroom, master bedroom suite and sun room.  Norma said, “John’s granddaughter told us that John took down the ballroom.” 
The Peabody’s maintain that the ballroom was actually part of the original plan.  Another part of the house that is missing is an entire north wing that had 7 bedrooms and 7 baths.  This part of the home was destroyed by a fire, after the Lawrence’s sold it to the Pym’s.
The work that the Peabody’s have done over the past 30 years is quite evident.  Their home has been meticulously maintained both inside and out, something John Silsbee Lawrence would be proud of.
Although Topsfield only knew him for 34 years, his mark in history will be felt for many years to come.

A special thank you to the Topsfield Town Librarians.  They were instrumental in finding a photocopy of An introduction to the log of the Larooco: being chiefly the correspondence of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John S. Lawrence written by Donald S. Carmichael, that is now available to read in the reference section. 

Also see several photos of inside home at this link Historic New England 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What Ghost Hunters Found in Topsfield Hangers and Symbolism by Elizabeth Coughlin Two Great Articles

The story about a haunted New England home:

From The Village Reporter Newspaper     
November 19, 2008

This photo, taken by Leigh Cummings, shows a memorial for Mary Easty that is part of the Salem Witch Trials Tercentenary Memorial (dedicated 1992) in downtown Salem. It is adjacent to the 17th century Charter Street Old burying Point.\

Recently there has been a lot of talk about “unexplainable happenings” in the East Street area of Topsfield.  As stated in an Oct. 22 Village Reporter article, the show Ghost Hunters recently aired a show about a home in that part of town that has reported alleged hauntings.
Linda McKeehan bought the home from relatives 20 years ago.
Ghost Hunters aired the show on the Topsfield “Farmhouse” on Nov. 5 on the SciFi Channel after the show's production department came to town to investigate.
The crew stayed in the house overnight using cameras that could film in the dark, as they kept all the lights off in the house.  During filming, two separate doors violently slammed shut.  Initially the front door slammed locking a crew member out of the house.  The second time, the bathroom door shut on a cameraman who was following a cast member around the house.
Another incident occurred when Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, the two stars of Ghost Hunters, knocked on a wall and asked whoever was haunting to knock back.  It did.
Perhaps the most visual finding was when a coat hanger flew across the bedroom and landed on the floor next to Jason.  Grant put the hanger back on the coat rack and once again the hanger went flying across the room and landed on the floor.
This symbolic connection was offered after the program aired by a descendant of Isaac Cummings, Leigh Cummings, who lives in Houlton, Maine.  Although he is not a believer in the “paranormal”, Leigh Cummings wrote in an email that, “The throwing down of the hanger (twice) is just far too symbolic.” 
Common thread

What does Isaac Cummings and the Witch Hysteria have to do with it?

The historic trail begins in 1652 when Isaac Cummings purchased 150 acres of land in Topsfield, later known as the Cummings-Hobbs-Bell place.  The acreage he bought would have included Linda’s home on East Street as well as others.

During the “Witch Hysteria” of the late 1600s, history tells us three local women were hanged as witches, Sarah Wilds, Elizabeth How, and Mary Towne Easty.

Both Elizabeth How and Mary Towne Easty, relate back to the Cummings Family.

The decision to convict Elizabeth How as a witch and sentence her to death was the result of the testimony of Isaac Cummings (2nd generation aged about 60), his wife Mary Andrews, their son Isaac Cummings Jr and Mary’s brother Thomas Andrews of Boxford, as well as others.  They testified that because they had refused to lend one of the How daughters their mare, it mysteriously became horribly abused one night later.  The mare ends up dying and the Cummings barn narrowly escapes a fire.  Elizabeth How (the wife of James How Jr) was hanged on Gallows hill in Salem on Tuesday, July 19th, 1692.

The second local Witch that was hanged and related to the Cummings Family is Mary Towne Easty.  Her niece (through her brother Joseph) married John Cummings in 1688 and two of Mary’s granddaughters, Abigail and Sarah, married Cummings men, both named Joseph (1712 & 1714).  Tragically in 1729, on Christmas Eve, Joseph died of smallpox and 17 days later his wife Abigail succumbed to the same disease, leaving five orphaned children.

It is also important to note Mary Easty’s sister Rebecca Nurse was also hanged as a witch and another sister, Sarah Towne Cloyes was charged but never tried.  In January, 1693 the grand jury dismissed the charge against Sarah.

Mary Towne Easty, who is called “Mary Easty, the self-forgetful” is known for a remarkable second petition she wrote in prison, awaiting her execution.  According to The Historical Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society, volume 13, written by Mrs. Abbie Peterson Towne and Miss Marietta Clarke, “This petition stands by itself and is probably the most remarkable petition in the English language.”

In part it reads  “I Petition to your honours not for my own life for J know J must die and my appointed time is sett but the Lord he knowes it is that if it be possible no more Jnnocent blood may be shed…”

Mary Towne Easty was executed on September 22, 1692 on Gallows hill in Salem.

At the end of Ghost Hunters both Grant and Jason reassured Linda that the “paranormal” things going in the house were nothing to be afraid of.  In their opinion the “ghost” was just trying to communicate with her. 

Although neither Mary Towne Easty nor Elizabeth Howe lived in the house that was featured on Ghost Hunters, it is important to remember the history of the land.  Some viewers said the hanger was just that, a symbolic reminder of the “Witch Hysteria” and the lessons to be learned from it.

By the way, both Lucille Ball and author E.E. Cummings, e.g., are descended from Isaac and Mary Andrews Cummings.  There is a cemetery in Topsfield, located on private property, that the Topsfield History book (History of Topsfield, George Dow) tells us holds over 100 souls from the Cummings-Lamson-Smith Families.  The Smiths are direct ancestors of Joseph Smith, Mormon Leader.

Photographs are the sole copyright of ©Elizabeth A. Coughlin.  Any questions please email

Kris Williams (seated on left) and President of the Topsfield Historical Society Norm Isler during their taped interview for the show "Ghost Hunters" to air sometime this Fall on a Wednesday night at 9 pm on the Sci Fi Channel. photo by Elizabeth Coughlin

From The Village Reporter October 22, 2008 This was the first article of 3

When Linda McKeehan bought her Topsfield home from relatives twenty years ago she had been warned not to buy it and at the time she did not know why, however, now she does.
For the last twenty years Linda and her three daughters have been experiencing unexplainable happenings in their home. They have seen lights turn on and off, doors shut on their own, sounds of someone walking up and down the hallway, coins dropping, children laughing, singing, banging, balls bouncing, objects moving, and the feeling that someone is watching. Most of these unexplainable events occurred while someone was alone in the house and usually at night. Linda explains, 'The most common thing is when someone is coming to the house expecting nobody to be here because they are checking on my home while I am away, and instead they hear laughing, singing and music."
Linda also talks about another incident where friends have driven up to the house expecting her not to be there and all the lights are on in the home.
For years her daughters have felt it too. One daughter explains, "I'll feel like someone is in the room. Sometimes the TV will go on by itself and lights too."
Linda, however does not always feel safe in her home. She explains, "Some nights I feel afraid, and two of my daughters will not sleep here alone over night."
All of these things are what helped lead up to Linda contacting the show Ghost Hunters.
A co-worker of Linda's had told her she should send her story to the show Ghost Hunters. A reality based show that appears on the SciFi channel on Wednesday nights at 9pm. According to the SciFi channel website, "This one-hour weekly reality show from the creator/executive producer of American Chopper follows a group of real-life paranormal researchers as they investigate hauntings throughout the country."
After several months of waiting and then some phone calls back and forth it finally came to be. On Friday October 3rd the team of investigators along with the two celebrities who lead the investigation, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, showed up at the McKeehan house to film the Ghost Hunters show. They filmed all night Friday and Saturday night until midnight. Linda says, "They really did a great job, they were fantastic. They were very sincere about what they were doing."
What they found during taping will have to wait until the show airs, sometime this fall, but Linda confirms that they did find things. In fact at one point the team got locked out of the house by a door that frequently shuts on its own locking people out of the house.
Perhaps the most interesting part of Linda's story may have come from looking into the history of the East Street area of Topsfield.

What history tells us
Linda does know some historical facts about her home from her relatives and neighbors. Her house was in fact a cottage house that was part of the working farm her step-father's family, the Pym family, had bought. The Pym family bought the entire farm, including the cottage, from Mr. John Lawrence sometime after 1937. Mr. Lawrence was a wealthy leather maker who was known to have entertained the Prince of Wales at his home. He had bought the property from the Robinson Family who owned 70 or more acres in that area of town. In the 1600's there was also a mill in that part of town, known as the Hobbs Mill, which was owned by the Hobbs Family.
Although all these historical facts are fascinating they still do not explain the haunted happenings occurring in Linda's home. That is where Norm Isler comes into the picture.
Norm Isler is the President of the Topsfield Historical Society. He was asked to be interviewed for the show Ghost Hunters in order to shed some light on the history of the East Street area of Topsfield.
What Norm explained was that houses back then did not have street numbers so it is difficult to know exactly where someone lived. However the Topsfield Historical Society has kept excellent records through the years. Some of these records can be found at the Topsfield Library in the reference section. Topsfield Historical Collections , start at Volume I and go up to volume 33 (1982). In the Topsfield Historical Collections Volume III, 1897, a Miss Marietta Clarke wrote this, "they do say that this last Hobbs House is haunted. It is a fact that a family left the house on account of the unexplainable noises heard therein. Doors opened noiselessly, mysterious footsteps were heard crossing some of the rooms. At times a fearful clamor broke out in the old blacksmith shop and all the spinning wheels were set a whirling."
What is fascinating about the writings of Miss Marietta Clarke from over 100 years ago is that it sounds a lot like what Linda and her family have been experiencing today. Although it may seem tragic not to be able to know which house belonged to whom, one can't help but find Ms. Clarke's historical document intriguing, perhaps even validating.

Sometimes...understanding the past helps to release the mysteries of today.