Preserve the Pensions! 52 Ancestors: #13 Rodolphus Stanhope

My 2nd great-grandfather James Lucey had a wife and child before he married my 2nd great-grandmother. She died in childbirth along with their son James in 1868. Her name was Mary Jane Crotty and according to the 1865 Massachusetts census, was literally the girl next door. There was no civil record of the marriage or of the birth, just her death record which listed her maiden name. So how do I know about it?

His Civil War pension application.

Having that information put me in contact with Flavia Adams, a descendant of the Crotty’s,  fellow genealogist and a wonderful woman. It also helped to explain the strong connection between the families. If it weren’t for the pension records, that connection might have been lost to history.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies, in partnership with the National Archives, Ancestry.com and Fold3, launched a fund raising campaign to digitize 7.2 million War of 1812 pension documents held in the Archives. Once digitized the files are available for free via Fold3. There are thousands of stories in those very fragile documents, they need to be protected and made available. Please join me in supporting this extremely important effort by donating at Preserve the Pensions.

One War of 1812 Pension records that I’m particularly interested in is that of my 4th great grandfather Rodolphus Stanhope. He was born around 1796 in Massachusetts, possibly in the Sudbury area where his family lived before moving to Plantation 4 [which became Robbinston in 1811] in present day Maine. He was a young man of 15 or 16 when he volunteered for Captain Thomas Vose’s company in July of 1812, just weeks after Congress authorized the war.

RodolphusStanhope1812Service

Massachusetts Volunteer Militia in the War of 1812, pg. 159 Records of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Various. Sacramento, California: California State Library.

Rodolphus married Susannah Hickey in 1815 and they had 13 children over the next 30 years. They lived in Robbinston, Perry and finally Whiting, Maine. Rodolphus died 17 August 1870 and a short time later Susannah applied for his War of 1812 pension. I can’t wait to see what stories might be in his pension records. Help make sure that none of the records are lost, make a tax-deductible donation at Preserve the Pensions.

Pension Application

Ancestry.com. War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.

This post is 13th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

The One That Stayed 52 Ancestors: #12 Anne Lucey Mann

When my Lucey’s came to America in 1852 they left daughter Anne in Ireland, she was probably only 10 years old. I wonder why she stayed, perhaps she was sick and couldn’t travel. And who she lived with, did some other family members remain? I only found out about Anne because her daughter Elizabeth came to America and stayed with family in Haverhill and Groveland, Massachusetts (censused as “niece” in 1900 and 1910). From Elizabeth’s passenger records, I was able to find Anne and her family in the 1901 and 1911 Ireland Censuses.

The Cover Page of the 1901 Ireland Census for the Mann family

The Cover Page of the 1901 Ireland Census for the Mann family

The family lived at 36 Harbour Row in Cobh or Queenstown as it was known then, in County Cork. Some additional location info is also captured on the form including:
Barony: Barrymore
Parish: Templerobin
Townland: Kilgarvan

In the 1901 Census the family consists of:

John, age 61, a carpenter born in London
Anne, age 49 [this might be 59], wife, born in County Cork
Mary Ellen, age 29, dressmaker, born in County Cork
Anne, age 20, dressmaker, born in County Cork

In 1911, things have changed a bit. Anne is now a widow and there’s a son listed, John age 38 that wasn’t listed with the family in 1901. An additional question was asked in this census, number of children born and living, to which Anne answered 9 and 7 respectively. I know of only 4 children, Mary, John, Elizabeth and Anne. So more research to do there, sounds like a good reason to visit Ireland again!

1911 Ireland Census Mann
John Arthur Mann, Anne’s husband, died 27 Feb 1906 and is buried in Templerobin Cemetery in Cobh. Son John is also buried there, he died 16 Feb 1935. I don’t have any additional information on Anne or her daughters. I’m hoping there are some descendants out there, please contact me via comment or email if you are connected.

This post is 12th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

[1]  National Archives. Census of Ireland, 1901/1911 [http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie]. Dublin, Ireland.

Battle of Staunton River Bridge 52 Ancestors: #11 Benjamin Bowen

On January 13th, 1864, just four days after he turned 18, Benjamin Franklin Bowen was mustered into Company H, First Regiment District of Columbia Cavalry. He traveled nearly 200 miles from his home in Perry to the capital, Augusta, Maine, perhaps with fellow recruits and Perry-ites Columbus Frost, William McPhail and James Garnett1.

The war had already had a terrible impact to Benjamin’s family. His older brother George Washington Bowen died in Sep 1863 far away from home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Patriarch William died in 1862  at Camp Chase in Lowell, Massachusetts, a mere 4 months after enlisting. The family couldn’t afford to bring either of them home for burial.

His brother John Quincy Adams Bowen enlisted in December of 1863 and his brother-in-law Samuel Collier was fighting with the 18th Maine Infantry. Neither would make it back from the war.

Benjamin’s regiment was initially formed in mid-1863 specifically to defend Washington D.C., but in January 1864 was pressed into service with Kautz’s Cavalry Division. In late June, General Grant sent Brigadier Generals Kautz and Wilson to destroy rail lines that were feeding supplies to the Confederate troops defending Petersburg. They had destroyed about 60 miles of rail lines when they came to Roanoke Station and the covered rail bridge over the Staunton River.

IMG_0332

Staunton River Battlefield State Park map. Photo by Dave Lucey

Confederate troops defending the bridge were outnumbered, but they had a heads up and rounded up every able-bodied man and child to defend the bridge. They dug in and on the afternoon of the 25th the Union forces advanced on the bridge. Benjamin’s unit attacked from the east and were repulsed. Fighting continued for hours, with the Confederates holding ground, keeping the bridge safe. Eventually, the unit that was chasing the Union troops caught up and attacked from the rear, forcing Wilson-Kautz to move on.

Benjamin was injured during the fight and died two days later, on June 27th. He is supposedly buried in Coyner Springs Cemetery, but I’ve been unable to confirm that. What I can confirm is that he, like his father and brothers, did not make it home.

The Staunton River Bridge. At the time of the battle this was a covered railroad bridge.

The Staunton River Bridge. At the time of the battle this was the covered railroad bridge. Photo by Dave Lucey 2012

This post is 11th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Further reading:
The Battle Story
Regiment Details
Battle of Staunton River Bridge

[1] Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Appendix D. Pg. 935-944. Record of Recruits for First Regiment District of Columbia Cavalry. Original data: California State Library; Sacramento; Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Maine.

Any long lost Cousins? Pt. 2 52 Ancestors: #10 Arthur Smith

Last week I mentioned my great-grandmother Helen Frost’s two half-siblings and went into detail on Mae Smith Chambers. This week I’ll share what I know about her half-brother, Arthur Smith. Art was born around 1899, probably in Connecticut, but much like his sister I’ve yet to find any birth record.

Mae and Art’s father went by John Frank Smith, but that’s not his real name and I’m unsure of when he changed it. The first record I have of John is the 1930 census when he was about 65. John was born in Poland according to the that census1, Russia according the 1940 census, but was Lithuanian ethnically. I speculate that when both Mae and Art were born John was still using his original name or some variation, which makes the records difficult to find.

Art was a career U.S. Navy man and as you can tell from this photo he was a young man when joined.ArtSmith

ArtSmiths Cottage in Seaview Washington

In 1920 Art was in Seaview, Washington according to this picture.

Helen Smith Frost, Arthur Smith, Gladys and Melvin Drake, Arthur Frost and Evelyn Drake in the front.

Helen Smith Frost, Arthur Smith, Gladys and Melvin Drake, Children Arthur Frost and Evelyn Drake in the front. Circa 1926

The next record I can find for him is the 1940 census, living in San Diego with his wife Mary. He is a Chief Radioman for the U.S. Navy2. This photo was probably taken around that time.

Art Smith circa 1940

Art Smith circa 1940

In 1960, Art and Mary are living in San Dieguito, CA and he is working for Convair Astronautics3, a division of General Dynamics that was working on the Atlas rocket that eventually launched the Mercury astronauts into space.

My great-grandmother Helen thought highly of Arthur, so much so that she named one of her son’s after him. It would be great to find that he and Mary had a child or two during the years where I can’t find them.
This post is 10th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

[1] Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. 1930; Census Place: Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts; Roll: 938; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0005; Image: 590.0; FHL microfilm: 2340673. Frank Smith household. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

[2] Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Year: 1940; Census Place: San Diego, San Diego, California; Roll: T627_448; Page: 34A; Enumeration District: 62-17. Arthur J. Smith household. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.

[3] Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Title : San Dieguito, California, City Directory, 1960 Pg. 44 Entry for Smith, Arthr J.

Any long lost cousins? 52 Ancestors #9: Mae Smith Chambers

Since I’ve had some luck connecting with new cousins lately, I thought I’d post about a line where I’m not aware of any living descendants, but would love to connect if there are any.

My maternal great-grandmother Helen had a half-sister and brother, Mae Smith and Arthur J Smith.
Mae married William Benjamin Chambers on 1 July 1916 in Bridgewater, MA.Smith Chambers MR

According to the town record of the event1 she was born in 1898 in New Haven, CT and was a telephone operator. Her parents are listed as Charles Smith and Minnie Stankiewicz. In most records her father went by John or Frank (sometimes both) and her mother went by so many names she will be the topic of another post.

Mae Smith, Arthur Smith, William Chambers, Minnie Smith

Mae Smith, Arthur Smith, William Chambers, Minnie Smith

Mae and Bill lived at 118 Plymouth St in Bridgewater, MA for about 25 years, then Brockton, MA for the next 10. At some point in the 1960’s they moved to Duarte, a small community outside of Los Angeles, CA. Mae died 1 Dec 19662, her husband Bill a year later.
They had one son for sure, William A Chambers, in 1917. There is another son that is listed in the 1940 census with the family [Edward], but I haven’t been able to find any other records of his relationship.

Son William was known as Billy Boy in the family. He also ended up in California and died 1 March 1988 in Carlsbad3. I’m not sure if he had a wife or any children, but if you or someone you know is connected, please contact me!

Back Row: William "Billy Boy" Chambers, Helen "Honey" Frost, Mae Smith Chambers, Minnie Smith. Middle Row: Jane "Ginger" Frost, Helen Smith Frost. Front: Priscilla Frost. 1940 - 51 Hammond St, Bridgewater, MA

Back Row: William “Billy Boy” Chambers, Helen “Honey” Frost, Mae Smith Chambers, Minnie Smith. Middle Row: Jane “Ginger” Frost, Helen Smith Frost. Front: Priscilla Frost. 1940 – 51 Hammond St, Bridgewater, MA

This post is 9th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

[1] Births, Marriages and Death. Ancestry.com Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Record of Marriage Intentions, Town of Bridgewater. Mae Smith and William Benjamin Chambers, filed 26 June 1916, issued 1 July 1916.
Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook).

[2] Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000. Place: Los Angeles; Date: 1 Dec 1966; Social Security: 013109570. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.

[3] Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000. Place: San Diego; Date: 1 Mar 1988; Social Security: 031036503. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.