52 Ancestors: #5 Patrick O’Brien

O’Brien might be the most common Irish name in America or maybe it just seems that way when I’m trying to find records for my 3rd great-grandfather, Patrick. There are over 4 million results returned when searching for O’Brien on Ancestry and that doesn’t count the misspellings.

Patrick’s last name is misspelled O’Brion on his 1874 marriage record to Ellen Ryan (spelled Rayen on the same)1 and O’Brine on his 1919 death record.2 Thankfully, his daughter Mary passed along some papers and a picture to my grand aunt Betty (Lucey) Bedard. And via Ancestry.com, I connected with a descendant of one of Patrick’s brothers. Chris was able to fill in many blanks and confirm the connection to the Amesbury MA O’Briens.

Patrick O’Brien and Helen Melson (not sure who she is)

Patrick was born in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland in March of 1848, the eldest son of Patrick and Bridget (Hare)3. He came to America sometime in the mid to late 1860’s, probably with his siblings John, Richard and Mary. They lived in Amesbury, MA and he worked in the carding room at the woolen mills there and in neighboring Salisbury4.

This signature is from one of Mary’s report cards

By 1876 he was living in Rochester, NH with wife Ellen (Ryan) and working in the woolen mill, probably the Gonic Manufacturing Co where James Lucey, the future father-in-law of daughter Mary, worked. They had four daughters in Rochester, Katherine (1876-1966), Bernice (1879-1948), Mary (1881-1972) and Sara (1883-1886).5

PortsmouthNH

I love how stuff like this was published in the newspaper!

In the summer of 1910, he and James Lucey visited York Beach Maine where James and Mary (O’Brien) Lucey were vacationing.6

Patrick died 19 Jul 1919 at home in Rochester at age 71.

This post is 5th in the in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

1. Ancestry.com. Maine, Marriage Records, 1713-1937 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.Original data: Maine Marriage Records, 1705-1922. Augusta, Maine: Maine State Archives. Pre 1892 Delayed Returns; Roll #: 81.

2. Ancestry.com. New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.Original data: “New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754–1947.” Online index and digital images. New England Historical Genealogical Society. Citing New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records, Concord, New Hampshire.

3. ibid.

4. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1870; Census Place: Amesbury, Essex, Massachusetts; Roll: M593_607; Page: 27A; Image: 58; Family History Library Film: 552106.

5. Ancestry.com. New Hampshire, Birth Records, 1659-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations. Inc., 2013.Original data: “New Hampshire, Birth Records, through 1900.” Online index and digital images. New England Historical Genealogical Society. Citing New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records, Concord, New Hampshire.

6. Ancestry.com. Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.Original data: Portsmouth Herald. Portsmouth, NH, USA. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper. 2 Aug 1910, pg. 2.

52 Ancestors: #4 The Woolen Mill Workers

Rather than focus on a specific ancestor this week, I thought I’d share a picture and some thoughts on the woolen mill workers in my family.

I believe my 3rd great grandfather began his long career in the mills at Ballardvale, a section of Andover, MA around 1860. His brother John likely worked there also. For any art buffs Charles Sheeler immortalized the mills of Ballardvale in his 1946 painting.

From about 1865 until 1880, the family lived in South Groveland, MA and worked in the mills there.

In 1880, James, his wife Johanna and their children, John, David and James (my 2nd great-grandfather) moved to Rochester, NH where James became Boss Carder at the Gonic Manufacturing Company.

James is in the center of the picture with his carding room crew from the Gonic Manufacturing Company in Rochester, NH.

James is in the center of the picture with his carding room crew from the Gonic Manufacturing Company in Rochester, NH.

Robert Frost wrote “The Lone Striker” about his own experiences working in the mills at Lawrence, Mass in the 1890’s. I think it paints a vivid picture:

The air was full of dust of wool.
A thousand yarns were under pull,
But pull so slow, with such a twist,
All day from spool to lesser spool,
It seldom overtaxed their strength;
They safely grew in slender length.
And if one broke by any chance,
The spinner saw it at a glance.
The spinner still was there to spin.
That’s where the human still came in.
Her deft hand showed with finger rings
Among the harplike spread of strings.
She caught the pieces end to end
And, with a touch that never missed,
Not so much tied as made them blend.

This post is 4th in the in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Two Days before Christmas, 52 Ancestors: #3 Herbert Bowen

December 23rd 1934 was a cold but clear Sunday in Rochester, New Hampshire. My grandmothers younger brother Herbert Bowen was riding around town that afternoon with his friends Arthur and Eleanor when the unthinkable happened.

Arthur is behind the wheel when he spots a car backing out of a driveway. He hits the brakes but they are coming down a hill and the road is icy, he loses control and skids into a telephone pole. Herbert is dead on arrival, he was just 20 years old. The two friends are injured but survive.

What a horrible Christmas that must have been for all the families involved. My grandmother spoke fondly of her brother but I don’t recall any specific stories, just what a tragedy his death was. If any family members reading this know of any, please post a comment or send me an email.

Herbert Sewall and Doris Mae Bowen circa 1918

Herbert Sewall and Doris Mae Bowen circa 1918, in the background is their grandfather Sewall Stanhope

Herbert Sewall Bowen was born 30 Aug 1914 in Edmunds, Maine to George and Bessie (Stanhope) Bowen. The family moved to Rochester shortly before the accident because work was scarce in Down East Maine at the time and George’s brother Myron had found a job a the W.H. Champlin box company. They lived in the same multi-family house on Knight street with Myron and his family until 1935 or 36 when they moved to Portland Street. My grandfather Vinny’s family lived on Portland Street, he and Doris married on 28 Nov 1936. George, Bessie and their other son Alton later moved to Meaderboro Road, not far from Walnut Street where Herbert was killed.

Transcription of the Rochester Courier article:

One Killed, Two Injured, As Car Skids Into Pole
Hubert Bowen, 20, Dies in Local Crash

Herbert Bowen of 21C Knight street was instantly killed and Arthur Fairweather, Jr., 18, same address, and Eleanor Hanson, 17, of Bow Lake were badly injured when an automobile, driven by Fairweather, skidded into a telephone pole on Walnut street, Sunday afternoon.
According to police, the car was coming down the hill on Walnut street. A car, driven by Albert C. Elgar of Hillsborough and Mrs. Ethel Fitch of East Rochester, was about to back out of a driveway, which was on the left of the approaching car. A collision did not occur as the Elgar car did not back into the street, but evidently Fairweather applied his brakes and his car skidded at full speed on the icy street into the telephone pole.

HerbertBowenRochesterCourier

Rochester Courier 30 Dec 1934 pg. 1

Bowen was taken to the Frisbie Memorial hospital and was pronounced dead on his arrival. Dr. Norman Chesley rendered aid to the other occupants of the wrecked machine.
Dr. Forrest L. Keay, medical referee of Strafford county, viewed the remains and pronounced that Bowen was instantly killed.
Fairweather had a bad cut on the forehead and another cut on the back of his head. Miss Hanson was cut and bruised.
State Officer Frank D. Manning and Traffic Officer Clyde Cotton were on the scene early, being closely followed by State Inspector Harold Foss of Dover.
An investigation was held at the City hall, County Solicitor Thomas J. McGreal of Somersworth in charge. All parties involved were questioned and the accident was declared unavoidable.
Bowen is the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Bowen and was employed at the W. H. Champlin lumber mill.

Herbert Bowen Is Buried Wednesday

Funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon at the Edgerly chapel on South Main street for the late Herbert Bowen, who was killed instantly in an automobile accident on Walnut street.

HerbertBowenRochesterCourierHerbertBowenRochCourier2

Rochester Courier 4 Jan 1935 pg. 5

Mr. Bowen was born in Edmunds, Me., the son of George and Bessie (Stackpole) [actually Stanhope] Bowen and was 20 years of age. He was employed at the W. H. Champlin lumber mill in this city and a wide circle of friends were deeply shocked because of the tragedy.
Rev. Daniel H. Miller, pastor of the True Memorial church, officiated. There was a large and beautiful floral tribute. Undertaker J. H. Edgerly was in charge of the funeral arrangements.

This post is 3rd in the in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors: #2 John Frost

My 2nd post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge is my 3rd great-grandfather John Frost. He was born around 1822 in Germany and married Catherine sometime around 1845. Catherine was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany around 1818, I’m not sure of her maiden name.

John, Catherine and daughter Elizabeth came to America and lived in Newark, NJ. By 1860 they had two sons as well, Frederick (1855-?) and my 2nd g-grandfather Julius Henry (1857-1934). In the 1860 census, they family is enumerated living on Camfield Street (based on comparisons of neighbors and later city directories), John’s occupation is listed as Saloon and he had a $500 valuation of personal belongings. Frost is misspelled as “Froas”.

1860UnitedStatesFederalCensusForJohnFroas

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1860; Census Place: Newark Ward 2, Essex, New Jersey; Roll: M653_688; Page: 168; Image: 170; Family History Library Film: 803688.

John was listed in the 1861 and 1862 Newark Directories as a harness maker on Camfield street but is missing from 1863.

Title: Newark, New Jersey, City Directory, 1861. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Title: Newark, New Jersey, City Directory, 1861. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

In the 1864 directory, wife Catherine is living at 8 Maiden Lane, no mention of John. In 1865 Catherine is listed as his widow. I haven’t been able to find a death record for John or any record of military service that might have taken him away from New Jersey, so exactly when and how he died is unknown to me. 

52 Ancestors: #1 Johanna Donoghue

Amy Crow over at No Story Too Small had a great idea to encourage family history blogging: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Posts can be anything (stories, pictures, etc…), just focus on one ancestor. I hope to meet the challenge.

My first post is on my 2nd great-grandmother, Johanna Donoghue (1849-1922). She left the family farm in Shroneboy, Ireland in 1871 and came to America with her cousin Elizabeth Mahoney.

The view from Upper Shronaboy, the O'Donoghue family farm.

Upper Shronaboy, the O’Donoghue family farm. O’Donoghue’s still live there today.

In 1875, she married James Edward Lucey in South Groveland, Massachusetts. They had 10 children, three of which died young of diphtheria. They made their home at 66 Church St in the Gonic section of Rochester, New Hampshire where Johanna planted lilac bushes (her favorite) and they built a lawn-tennis court.

Johanna and daughter Agnes circa 1905

Johanna and daughter Agnes circa 1905

Shortly after she died in 1922, the following appeared in the Rochester Courier.

By the death of Mrs. James E. Lucey, which was announced in the Courier last week, Gonic loses one of its most highly respected ladies. She had a very pleasant disposition and always looked on the bright side of life and well does the writer remember, when he was a boy playing with other boys around the Lucey homestead, making much noise and doing many tricks we ought not to do, Mrs. Lucey would not scold us but approach us in a bright and cheerful mood and kindly asked us to be good boys, and we would always mind her. She was honored, respected and beloved by all who knew her and is a big loss to the community. She was a loving wife and a devoted mother and her husband and children have the heartfelt sympathy of the whole village in their great loss.

johannafuneralcard