Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My 64 ~ Researching My Fourth Great Grandparents : "Squire" George Steeves and Martha Smith

Having traveled this July to Hillsborough, New Brunswick, to attend the Steeves250 celebration, I will focus my next 3 posts on my 3 sets of Steeves 4th great grandparents :

"Squire" George Steeves and Martha Smith
Jacob Steeves and Eleanor Bleakney
Christian Steeves and Christianna Jones

Steeves House Museum during the Steeves250 celebration (July 2016)

My fourth great grandfather, George Steeves, was born most probably in Hillsborough, New Brunswick, on December 1, 1785, the fifth child of Jacob Steeves and Anna Catherina Lutz, and their fourth son. He was the grandson of Heinrich Stief and Regina Stahlecker, who settled in Moncton, and later in Hillsborough, in 1766.  The Steeves250 celebration this summer commemorated Heinrich and Regina's arrival in Canada, 250 years ago, from Philadelphia, having begun their long journey in Germany.

Map showing Hillsborough, Moncton,
and the Petitcodiac River 

My fourth great grandmother, Martha Smith, was also born, probably in Hillsborough, on June 18, 1788, the daughter of Charles Smith and Suzanne Govang. She was the granddaughter of James Smith, an Irishman who had been one of the first settlers of Hillsborough in 1770.

Together, George and Martha Steeves, as was common in farming families of this era and locale, had 11 children in quick succession, probably all born in Hillsborough:

Mary, b. 1813
Ann, b. 1814
Caroline, b. 1816
Albert D., b. 1818
Rachel, b. 1820
George William, b. 1822
Martha, b. 1824
Catherine, b. 1825
Susan, b. 1827
James Jacob, b. 1830
Permilia Jane, b. 1834

With eight daughters and three sons, with one son never marrying, and another having only daughters, George hardly contributed to furthering the family name. Not to worry; there were plenty of other Steeves family members to do so.

George came to be known in his later years as "Squire" George. Although there has been the suggestion that he was a schoolmaster, it is more likely that he may have handled legal matters for the Steeves clan. Whether he had the training to do so, however, is in doubt. The title may have been bestowed simply because of his stature, physical or by reputation, in Hillsborough.

Martha died on June 6, 1839. Five years after her death, the widower George married Elizabeth Smith, the eldest daughter of my fourth great grandparents, Robert Smith and Hannah Veckle Beck (more on them in a future post!). George died on May 16, 1870, and his second wife, Elizabeth, died exactly one year later, on May 16, 1871.

George and his two wives, Martha and Elizabeth, are buried in the Hillsborough Pioneer Cemetery, right in the heart of Hillsborough, next to the First Hillsborough United Baptist Church. Hence, Find A Grave designates the burial ground as the First Hillsborough United Baptist Church Cemetery.

Hillsborough Pioneer Cemetery during Steeves250

Hillsborough Pioneer Cemetery during Steeves250

Headstone of Martha Smith Steeves

Close-up of Martha's Headstone

Monument to George and 2d wife Elizabeth

Close-up of George and Elizabeth's monument


Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed  24 Aug 2016), memorial page for George Steeves (1784-1870), Find A Grave Memorial no. 142780831, citing First Hillsborough United Baptist Church Cemetery, Hillsborough, Albert County, New Brunswick, Canada.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed  24 Aug 2016), memorial page for Martha Steves (1788-1839), Find A Grave Memorial no. 142772904, citing First Hillsborough United Baptist Church Cemetery, Hillsborough, Albert County, New Brunswick, Canada.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed  24 Aug 2016), memorial page for Elizabeth Steeves (1793-1871), Find A Grave Memorial no. 142780888, citing First Hillsborough United Baptist Church Cemetery, Hillsborough, Albert County, New Brunswick, Canada.

Wright, Esther Clark. Samphire Greens: The Story of the Steeves. 2d ed. (Hillsborough, NB: The Steeves Family Inc., 2001).

Sunday, June 19, 2016

My 64 ~ Researching My 4th Great Grandparents : Andrew Lovell and Sarah Joy

My fourth great grandfather, Andrew Lovell, was born in Maine around 1800, likely the son of Zelotes Lovell, who had migrated from Barnstable, Massachusetts. Zelotes had married a woman named Meribah Blossom, but it unclear whether Meribah was Andrew's mother.

Andrew appears residing in Starks, in Somerset County, Maine, in 1830, as head of a family of 5, so it can be assumed that he married sometime before that year. He married a woman named Sarah Joy, my fourth great grandmother, the daughter of Levi Joy and Sarah Carr. who had migrated from Raymond, in Rockingham County, New Hampshire.

By 1830, Andrew and Sarah had three small children:

Stacy W., b. 1822
Abijah Joy, b. 1827
Andrew Carr, b. 1829

One of the more intriguing story about their life in Starks involves the murder, in July 1827, of a three-year-old child named Warren P. Taylor, by a 13 year old girl named Adeline Joy. At the time of the crime, the two children were "paupers in the town, in the family of Andrew Lovell." Although Adeline was acquitted, it was the first capital crime in Somerset County.

The following article appeared in Eastern Argus (Portland, Me.) the following February:

A month later, this short gruesome piece made the Gloucester (Mass.) Telegraph:

Adeline's trial and eventual acquittal was publicized in June of 1828:

Somerset County Courthouse in Norridgewock, Maine

There are many questions still unanswered about the relationship of Adeline Joy/Taylor to Andrew and Sarah Lovell. Also, one theory is that she was the mother of the child.  But that would have meant she was only 10 when she gave birth (highly unlikely). In 19th Century Maine, there was a frequent custom of towns to bid off the support of the poor at public auction. Town records listed the name of each pauper, the name of the successful bidder and the amount the town had to pay to the winning bidder each week. The auction winner obtained the advantage of the labor of the paupers. Perhaps Andrew had won the bid for Adeline and Warren.

Ultimately, Andrew and Sarah had five more children, including a set of twin boys:

Israel F., b. 1832
Permelia, b. 1834
Warren A. and William Wallace, b. 1838
Sarah R., b. 1843

The family lived in several towns and plantations in and around present-day Carrabassett Valley, in Franklin County, Maine, and later in Aroostook County, Maine.

Andrew lived to at least June of 1880, per that year's census, but there is no record of Sarah's passing. Neither of their graves have been found.


Postscript ~ I want to acknowledge my research "buddy" on this story. Kim Lovell, wife of 4th cousin, 1x removed, Roger, has been working on the Lovell family ever since their daughter brought home a school assignment. From way out in Turlock, California, Kim has collaborated with me on her progress, and I have gladly provided any tidbits I find. At least I get to Maine more frequently than she does!


Photo Credit:

History of Somerset County (Chapter Nine), p.144.


1830 US Census; Census Place: Starks, Somerset, Maine; Series: M19; Roll: 51; Page: 120; Family History Library Film:0497947.

United States Census, 1840," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 17 April 2016), Andrew Lovell, Kingfield, Franklin, Maine, United States; citing p. 73, NARA microfilm publication M704, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 140; FHL microfilm 9,703.

United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 17 April 2016), Andrew Lovell, Franklin county, part of, Franklin, Maine, United States; citing family 521, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

1860 US Census; Census Place: Presque Isle, Aroostook, Maine; Roll: M653_434; Page: 167; Image: 167; Family History Library Film: 803434.

1870 US Census; Census Place: Lyndon, Aroostook, Maine; Roll: M593_538; Page: 248A; Image: 267344; Family History Library Film: 552037.

1880 US Census; Census Place: Caribou, Aroostook, Maine; Roll: 476; Family History Film: 1254476; Page: 139A; Enumeration District: 204; Image: 0279.

Groves, Marlene A., comp., Vital records of Mercer, Maine (Rockland, Me.: Picton Press, 2009), p.18.

Hanson, J.W. History of the old towns, Norridgewock and Canaan, comprising Norridgewock, Canaan, Starks, Skowhegan, and Bloomfield, from their early settlement to the year 1849 : including a sketch of the Abnakis Indians. (Boston: The author, 1849), p. 346, 356-357.

"Capital Trial," Eastern Argus, Portland, Maine, 20 June 1828, p.2; digital image, ( : accessed 19 June 2016), Newspaper Archives, 1690-2010.

"Miscellany," Gloucester Telegraph, Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1 March 1828, p.3; digital image, ( : accessed 19 June 2016), Newspaper Archives, 1690-2010.

“Murder,” Eastern Argus, Portland, Maine, 26 February 1828, p.3; digital image,  ( :  accessed 19 June 2016), Newspaper Archives, 1690-2010.

"Public Member Trees," database,, "Lovell Family Tree," , with linked images.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

My 64 ~ Researching My 4th Great Grandparents : Benjamin Griswold and Elizabeth Eastman

My fourth great grandfather, Benjamin Griswold, was born in Canaan, Connecticut, on December 3, 1756, likely the son of Benjamin Griswold and Susanna Spaulding. Nothing is known of his youth, until the stirrings of rebellion harkened this 19 year-old to battle.

His "Affidavit in Support of An Application for a Pension," in 1818, reads:

"In June 1775 at Crown Point in the State of New York he enlisted in the Company commanded by Capt. James Noble in the Regiment of Col. Easton in the Continental troops for the northern expedition, that he continued to serve in said corps which was principally commanded by Major Solomon Brewer until the retreat of the army from Quebec on the sixth day of May 1776; that his term of service had expired in April 1776, but that he served until May and was sent on ... to Crown Point and was there dismissed but had no written discharge ...

The Company that Benjamin joined in June of 1775
 came to be known as the
 Green Mountain Boys.

In the fall of 1780 he enlisted at Sheffield in Massachusetts and was placed in a company commanded by Capt. James Wade, Regiment of Col. Michael Jackson in General Patterson's Brigade in the Massachusetts line of Continental troops; that he continued to serve in said corps in service of the United States until, in the fall of 1783, when, having served his term of three years, he was honorably discharged, and his discharge was signed by Gen. Knox ... that he was in the storming of Quebec, that he is in reduced circumstances and stands in need of the assistance of his country for support ..."

Two years later, in 1820, his "Certification of Pensioner's Estate and Income" reads:

"... I was discharged in the fall or winter of 1783 at West Point; that I was in an engagement near to Kingsbridge on the North River... " (This would have been in present-day Bronx, New York.)

Sometime after Benjamin was discharged, he met and married Elizabeth Eastman. She was the widow of Josiah Terrill, who had died sometime in 1782. Elizabeth was born around 1751 or 1752, the daughter of Jonathan Eastman and Elizabeth Wood. Jonathan Eastman was a prominent citizen of Bennington, Vermont (then part of New Hampshire). Four children were born to the couple, all in Bristol, Vermont:

Horace, b. 1787
Huldah, b. 1788
Robert, b. 1790*
 Benjamin, Jr., b. 1792

*my 3rd great grandfather
who married Amanda Prior

Shortly before 1800, Benjamin moved his family to Cambridge, Vermont, and about thirty years later sold that property. Perhaps the sale signals the passing of Elizabeth. By the 1820 Certification, he had stated:

"I further state that I am 63 years old, my wife Elizabeth is aged Sixty Eight years. I am by occupation a farmer and have a heart which renders me unable to labour much..."

In any event, no records have been found for the deaths of Benjamin and Elizabeth, and no graves discovered in Vermont.

Benjamin is Ancestor # A048653 in the Daughters of the American Revolution GRS. Perhaps someday I will send in a supplemental application under his name.

Green Mountain Boys Memorial, Rutland, Vermont
Courtesy: Tom E Canavan

In the meantime, there is a Griswold Family Association, which also has a Facebook page. I am greatly indebted to my new 5th cousin, Sara L. French, whose mother's DAR application I purchased, and who is a past president of the GFA. Sara's parents, Robert and Esther (Griswold) French co-authored the book, "The Griswold Family : The First Five Generations in America," (Elmira, N.Y., 1990), available (with corrections and additions) on CD at

Photo credit:

Green Mountain Boys Memorial

Sources: Connecticut Town Birth Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.

Membership application, Esther Griswold French, no. 521253, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington, D.C.

Vermont Births, Marriages and Deaths to 2008. (From microfilmed records. Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2013.). Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.

French, Robert L. and Esther G., The Griswold family : The first five generations in America. (Elmira, NY (1990)., biography of Benjamin Griswold.

Lossing, Benson John. The pictorial field-book of the Revolution, Vol. 1. (New York : Harper and Brothers, 1851), p.155.

Vermont, Vital Records, 1760-1954," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 Oct 2014), Robert Griswald and Amanda Prior, 28 Aug 1822, Marriage; citing State Capitol Building, Montpelier; FHL microfilm 0027567.

“Revolutionary War Pensions,” database and images, Fold3 ( : accessed 13 April 2016); S.38773 of Benjamin Griswold (Massachusetts); citing Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 - ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 - ca. 1900, Record Group 15, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

St. Albans Daily Messenger, St. Albans, Vermont, online images (, Revolutionary Soldiers. A list of the names of the men who fought for independence and who are buried in Vermont. Saturday, August 19, 1905.

Recommended Reading:

Anderson, Mark R. The Battle for the Fourteenth Colony: America's War of Liberation in Canada, 1774–1776. University Press of New England (2013). ISBN 1-61168-497-8.

Monday, June 6, 2016

My 64 ~ Researching My 4th Great Grandparents : Richard Norris and Jane

My fourth great grandfather, Richard Norris, was born in England sometime around 1820. In the fall of 1836, he married Jane, who was born in Scotland.

He apparently had an early military career in the British army, which may have required him to travel to such places as Gibraltar and Barbados. Two of their first children died and were buried abroad.

In the early 1840's, the Norris family arrived in the United States, and by 1850, Richard and Jane were living in Aroostook County, Maine, in Letter D Plantation, with 5 children. Three more children were born in the next five years. In March of 1855, Richard became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

As tensions leading to the Civil War were heating up, Richard organized a local militia in Aroostook County in May of 1861. However, he was arrested for desertion and put in jail in August, supposedly for not moving out with his company. He went so far as to write a letter to Maine Governor Washburn's wife Mary, petitioning her for his release. I have transcribed it below:

He eventually was released, and enlisted on October 24, 1861, in Co. A, Me 7th Infantry. He was, however, given a disability discharge one year later, having been found unfit for duty for 60 days.

Following the War, Richard returned to his wife and family in Fort Fairfield. It is apparent, however, that his homelife was less than happy. 

In divorce papers filed in 1883, Jane attested to abandonment, physical abuse, and extra-marital affairs:

"In a plea of libel for divorce wherein showeth Jane Norris of Fort Fairfield aforesaid, that she was lawfully married to Richard Norris aforesaid, in the fall of the year eighteen hundred and thirty six, in the City of Dublin, Ireland; that she has lived, always observant of her marriage vows, in the marriage relation with said Norris, since said marriage, in different places and countries, and for more than twenty years, ending in June 1874, she so lived with said Norris, in said Fort Fairfield; that of said marriage were born eleven children, seven of whom are now living, all being of age and all married but one; that on or about June 10th 1874, said Richard Norris, without cause from your libellant, or intent upon her part to procure divorce, did willfully desert and abandon your said libellant, and has never since then contributed to her support, nor lived with her as her husband; that since said desertion, said Norris has returned three times, at intervals of  from three to five years, remaining but a short period at each time; that he came back the last time about September 1882, and has since that time treated your libellant with great cruelty and abuse; that on the 4th day of February last past, he assaulted your said libellant with force and arms, and struck her in the face and breast to her great injury; that at other times he has assaulted and beaten her; that your libellant believes and has good reason to believe that said Norris committed adultery with a Mary Ellsworth,  prior to his desertion of her in 1874; also with one Annie Weaver just previous to his deserting her as aforesaid; your libellant also believes and has good reason to believe that said Norris since his desertion of her in 1874 has committed adultery with a woman whose name is not known to your libellant, living in New York City, where said Norris has made it his home for most of the time since 1874; that said Norris, since his last return, has continually  interfered with her property and has habitually threatened your libellant that he will take her life, and so speaks, acts and threatens her, that she is afraid of her life, and is put in constant and continual dread.  Wherefore inasmuch as it is reasonable and proper conducive to domestic harmony, consistent with the peace and morality of society, and in accordance with the statute in such cases made and provided, your libellant prays that a divorce from the bonds of matrimony now subsisting between her and the said Richard Norris may be decreed.

Fort Fairfield.  February 10th 1883
Witness Nicholas Fessenden                Jane X Norris (her mark)"

The divorce was granted on February 27, 1883. Jane lived another 8 years, died on October 4, 1891, and is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Fort Fairfield.

Richard's ties to New York remained after the divorce. He passed away on May 12, 1893, in the Soldiers and Sailors Home, in Bath, New York. He is buried in Bath National Cemetery there.


1870 US Census, population schedule, Maine, Aroostook; digital image, ( Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, 1879-1903 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed  6 June 2016), memorial page for Richard Norris (unknown-1893), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1038200, citing Bath National Cemetery, Bath, Steuben County, New York.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed  6 June 2016), memorial page for Jane Norris (unknown-1891), Find A Grave Memorial no. 26228046, citing Riverside Cemetery, Fort Fairfield, Aroostook County, Maine.

Maine. Aroostook County. Supreme Judicial Court, divorce file (February 1883), Jane Norris v. Richard Norris. Vol. 14, Page 345. Maine, Divorce Records, 1798–1891. Augusta, Maine: Maine State Archives.

The National Cemetery Administration; Bath National Cemetery, Burial Ledger No 1, Jun 25, 1879-1921.

"United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 September 2015), Richard Norris, Aroostook county, part of, Aroostook, Maine, United States; citing family 59, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

"United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 June 2016), Richard Norris, 1860.

United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 September 2015), Richard Norris, 1855; citing Maine, NARA microfilm publication M1299 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 97; FHL microfilm 1,429,767.