Category Archives: Folsom

“In Loving Remembrance” – 44 Years Later

Just a short note about something I discovered recently while researching the family of my 5x great-grandfather Gordon Folsom (1878-1813).

The first child of Gordon and his wife Nancy Taylor (apparently a British immigrant) was their daughter Mary W. “Polly” Folsom (1806-1883).  She married John Smith (1801-1883), a farmer from Cumberland, Maine who had been married previously.

John and Polly had two daughters.  The first was Mary Elizabeth Wood Smith (1832-1841), who died at only 8 years old at the same time as her half-brother Franklin Smith.  Their names are together on a shared tombstone in the Pine Street Cemetery in Auburn, Maine.

Franklin & Mary Smith, died 1841

Franklin & Mary Smith, died 1841

The second daughter was Helen Maria Smith.  Helen was born 11 May 1834 in Danville, Maine.  She married Seth S. Goss, a farmer from her home town, in Boston on 14 Jan 1854 when she was 19 and he was 25.  It’s not hard to imagine them as childhood sweethearts, growing up together in Danville.

Goss / Smith Marriage, 1854

Goss / Smith Marriage, 1854

Then tragedy struck.  Only a year and a half after their marriage, Seth died suddenly on 28 Jul 1855 at the age of 27.  He was also buried in the Pine Street Cemetery, next to his sister-in-law whose tombstone we saw earlier.

Seth Goss Gravestone

Seth Goss Gravestone

Having lost her husband, Helen remarried to Josephus Bradford, a farmer who had immigrated from New Brunswick, Canada, to Calais, Maine with his family when he was just a young boy.  The couple moved to South Berwick, Maine and had two boys: Clarence G. Bradford who was born on 17 Aug 1858, and Edgar E. Bradford who was born two years later on 4 Mar 1860.  (Their birth years are reversed on, but all other documents list them as stated here.)  Helen and Josephus also had another child who apparently died in infancy.  The family is in the 186o, 1870, and 1880 census records for South Berwick, where Josephus is listed as a Farmer.

Helen saw a series of heartbreaks in her life:   Her youngest son Edgar died on 23 Jul 1884 at the age of 24, her husband Josephus died on 31 Jan 1898 from a heart infection, and her other son Clarence died months later on 3 Sept 1898 from heart disease.  All of them were buried in the Portland Street Cemetery in South Berwick, Maine.   Helen is listed alone as a widowed farmer in the 1900 census for South Berwick.  In the 1910 census she is living on Main Street, listed as a widow, and under occupation it says “own income”.  I’m guessing she sold the farm and retied on the income from the sale.

Here’s the part that I find touching and interesting…

Helen lost her son Edgar in 1884, then lost her second husband and her other living son in 1898.  Then in 1899 she took some of her money and purchased a marble obelisk and had it placed at the grave site of her first husband, Seth Goss.  It is adorned with two intertwined ivy vines, which symbolize immortality and fidelity.   The inscription reads:

“In loving remembrance, Seth S. Goss, June 20, 1828 – July 28, 1855, erected by Helen M. Goss Bradford, May 1899”

Obelisk at Seth Goss's grave.

Obelisk at Seth Goss’s grave.

So 44 years later, her first flame still held that much of a special place in her heart.

Helen Maria Smith Goss Bradford died 20 Sept 1913 and was buried with her husband and sons in South Berwick, Maine.

My Grandparents and “Pirates of the Caribbean”

Note: It’s difficult to believe that people are so colossally stupid that I have to add a disclaimer to this article, but here we are.  DISCLAIMER: Captain Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swan are fictional characters created by the Walt Disney Corporation.  Nobody, unless they are fictional, is actually related to Captain Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swan.  What follows is intended for humorous purposes only.  If you read it and decide it’s meant to be a serious piece of genealogical research, please seek help from a medical professional.  Ok?  Good. 

Time for more genealogical randomness.

Two of the lead characters in the Disney “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise are the lovely Elizabeth Swan (played by Kira Knightly), and the drunken scoundrel Captain Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp).

Elizabeth Swan and Jack Sparrow

Elizabeth Swan and Jack Sparrow (not my grandparents)

It turns out that I am descended from both of them!

Elizabeth Swan (1653-1690), daughter of Robert Swan and Elizabeth Acy, is actually my 9x AND my 10x great grandmother.  Her daughter Abigail Harriman (1683-1756) is my 8x great-grandmother and her daughter Elizabeth Harriman (1675 – 1720) is my 9x great-grandmother.  She is an ancestor of my great-grandmother Lulu Cairns.

We all know that “Jack” is a nickname for John, right?

Captain Jonathan Sparrow (1633-1706), son of Richard Sparrow and Pandora Bangs (the best name for a grandmother ever, assuming you like your grandmothers to have porn names), was a Captain of the militia in Eastham, Massachusetts, and fought in King Philip’s War.  He was my 10x great-grandfather… and also an ancestor of my great-grandmother Lulu Cairns.

His gravestone has a SKULL with WINGS growing out of it!  Don’t be jealous.

Jonathan Sparrow's Grave, Cove Burial Ground, Eastman, MA.

Jonathan Sparrow’s Grave, Cove Burial Ground, Eastham, MA.

This and other photos of the Sparrow family graves can be found here.

So there you go!  My “Pirates of the Caribbean” ancestors.

The Parents of Jonathan Judkins (b 1781)

As I wrote about recently here:

Who Are the Parents of Jonathan Judkins?

One of my roadblocks had been my inability to discover the parents of my 5x great-grandfather Jonathan Judkins and his wife Dolly Smith.  I detailed the manner in which I combed through the census records for the town of Fayette, Kennebec, Maine to discover that it was fairly likely that his father was “John Judkins” listed in the 1800 Census for Fayette.

The other pieces of the puzzle fell into place when I did a similar detailed analysis of the 1810 Census for Fayette, cross-referencing what I found there with the birth, death, and marriage records for Fayette.  I was able to determine that my 5x great-grandfather’s parents were Jonathan Judkins Jr. (actually making my grandfather Jonathan Judkins III, despite his being listed as “Jr.” in the 1800 Census).  His mother was Elizabeth Batchelder.

Jonathan Judkins Jr. and Elizabeth Batchelder were married in South Hampton, Rockingham, New Hampshire on 23 Jan 1777:

Judkins Batchelder Marriage, 1777

Judkins Batchelder Marriage, 1777

They moved to Fayette, Maine only a couple of months later, and their first child, Elizabeth Judkins, was born in Fayette on 25 Aug 1777.    She died seven months later on 7 Mar 1778.  Other children followed: Stephen Batchelder Judkins was born 6 Jul 1779, my grandfather Jonathan Judkins was born on 9 Aug 1781, a daughter Esther was born on 10 May 1784, a son Elisha on 26 May 1787, a son Jesse born on 4 Jan 1793 [died 17 Sept 1793], and finally a daughter Mehitable born on 9 Mar 1795.

I was also able to determine the entire immediate family of my 5x great grandfather.  Siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.  And I traced his line back to the original Judkins immigrant ancestor, Job Judkins, who arrived in Boston in the 1630’s from England and was a sawyer there.  His son Joel, my 9x great-grandfather, moved to Exeter, New Hampshire, likely to pursue the logging trade there.

The link from ol’ Job Judkins to me is as follows:

Job Judkins (1606 – 1657)
Joel Judkins (1643 – 1714)
Samuel Judkins (1686 – 1741)
Capt Jonathan Judkins (1719 – 1791)
Jonathan Judkins II (1753 – 1830)
Jonathan Judkins III (1781 – )
Elizabeth E Judkins (1808 – 1886)
Lucy Gilman Folsom (1835 – 1916)
Helen Maria Nason (1863 – 1912)
Lulu Maria Cairns (1888 – 1978)
Mildred Jean Forrest (1915 – 2006)
Frederick Clifford Thomas III (1941 – )

Once, Twice, Three Times My Grandfather

John Bean (or MacBean), my 10x great-grandfather was born in Strathdearn, Iverness-shire, Scotland about 1634.  He arrived in New Hampshire 1660 as an indentured servant, essentially “owned” by Nicholas Lissen.  He ended up marrying Nicholas’s daughter Margaret… so I guess that’s how you really make your way up the ladder!

As I discovered today, John is my grandfather three different ways.

Once through his son Jeremiah Bean:

Jeremiah Bean (1675-1727)
Margaret Bean (1702 – 1756)
Mary Glidden (1736 – 1819)
Mary Gordon (1761 – 1836)
Gordon Folsom (1788 – 1813)
Charles Taylor Folsom (1808 – 1886)
Lucy Gilman Folsom (1835 – 1916)
Helen Maria Nason (1863 – 1912)
Lulu Maria Cairns (1888 – 1978)
Mildred Jean Forrest (1915 – 2006)
Frederick Clifford Thomas III (1941 – )

Once through his daughter Mary Bean:

Mary Bean (1655 – 1743)
Samuel Judkins (1686 – 1741)
Jonathan Judkins (1719 – 1791)
Jonathan Judkins II (1753 – 1830)
Jonathan Judkins III (1781 – )
Elizabeth E Judkins (1808 – 1886)
Lucy Gilman Folsom (1835 – 1916)
Helen Maria Nason (1863 – 1912)
Lulu Maria Cairns (1888 – 1978)
Mildred Jean Forrest (1915 – 2006)
Frederick Clifford Thomas III (1941 – )

And once through his daughter Margaret Bean:

Margaret Bean (1670 – 1766)
Joseph Taylor (1691 – 1763)
Mercy Taylor (1733 – 1765)
Tristram S Folsom (1761 – 1811)
Gordon Folsom (1788 – 1813)
Charles Taylor Folsom (1808 – 1886)
Lucy Gilman Folsom (1835 – 1916)
Helen Maria Nason (1863 – 1912)
Lulu Maria Cairns (1888 – 1978)
Mildred Jean Forrest (1915 – 2006)
Frederick Clifford Thomas III (1941 – )

Mother’s Day – 2013

For Mother’s Day this year I decided to pay tribute to all the mothers in my Family Tree who contributed to making me who I am.  Of course there are tens or hundreds of thousands of women in my direct line of ancestry, if you go back to the beginning of our species.  My family tree goes back to the 1500’s in some places, to my 11x or 12x great grandparents.  As I’ve said before, that’s about 20,000 grandparents in your entire family tree to that depth.  Obviously there’s no way I can pay meaningful tribute to 10,000 women, so I decided to put together a collection of all the mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers that I have photos of in my tree.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Happy Mother’s Day, my beloved ancestors!

The women who made me who I am.

The women who made me who I am.

Historic Cairns Family Photos

I’ve said this before, but the first time you see a photo of a relative you’ve been researching for years is an emotional thing.  It’s like finally getting to meet the person… except you’re related to them… and they’re dead, so it’s got this bittersweet aspect to it.  Couple that with the fact that, sometimes, you never even dreamed a photo of them existed… and you have a great recipe for a teary and moving moment.

My cousin Tom Forrest sent me an email last night saying that he’d gotten together with his first cousin Pamela Burrell Antoni.  Apparently, Pam had been holding out on us a little, because she had quite the treasure trove of old family photos.  Tom sent me four, all of which are just incredible.  I’m going to post them here with some background on each photo.  Tom says more are on the way, so I’m very excited to say the least.

First, some background.  Here is the five-generation family tree of my grandmother, Mildred Jean Forrest (1915-2006).  You can click to enlarge this:

Mildred Jean Forrest - Family Tree

Mildred Jean Forrest – Family Tree

As you can see, my grandmother’s mother was the much beloved Lulu Maria Cairns Forrest Whitney Bailey Coutermarsh, a real pillar of my family about whom I have written previously.  Here, for example: Recollections of Lulu Maria Cairns.  Lulu’s parents were Samuel Robert Cairns and Helen Maria Nason.  Helen died in 1912 at the age of only 48, and I didn’t know any photos of her existed.  Yet here is one that Tom got from Pam:

Helen Maria Nason

Helen Maria Nason

It seems to have been taken about 1885, when Helen was in her early 20’s.  She looks strikingly like her daughter Mildred to me.  Something about a slight sadness in the eyes.

Lulu & Mildred Cairns c1897

Lulu & Mildred Cairns c1897

My 2x great-grandmother Helen Maria Nason was born in October of 1863 in Skowhegan, Maine.  Her father worked in Skowhegan while she was a young girl, then the family moved to Missiquoi in Québec, Canada where she met her husband Samuel Robert Cairns.  They were married on 29 Dec 1886 in the Bedford Methodist Church in Bedford, Québec, Canada.  Samuel worked as an “Inspector” at that time.  Helen died on 24 Apr 1912 in Westmount, Québec, Canada [Westmount is actually an “enclave” of Montréal] at the age of only 48.  She was buried in Ormstown, Canada, the home town of the Cairns family, which is just south of Montréal on the other side of the St. Lawrence River.  I have very little detail about her life, so this photo is a great thing to have.

The next photo is of the entire Cairns family, taken about 1906.  It shows my great-great-grandparents Helen Nason and Samuel Robert Cairns [1862-1941] with their daughters Lulu and Mildred as young women.

Samuel, Lulu, Mildred & Helen Cairns (clockwise from top), c1906

Samuel, Lulu, Mildred & Helen Cairns (clockwise from top), c1906

The next one really shocked me when I opened it:

Lucy Gilman Folsom, c1885

Lucy Gilman Folsom, c1885

This Helen Nason’s mother, Lucy Gilman Folsom [1835 – 1916].  She was my 3x great grandmother.  Lucy was born on 27 Apr 1835 in Fayette, Maine to Charles Taylor Folsom [1808-1886] and Elizabeth E. Judkins [1808-1886].  She lived in Fayette during her childhood, then she married Ruel Nason [1832-1889] in Wayne, Maine about 1856.  Ruel was an axe-manufacturer and I’ve written about the work of the Folsom and Ruel families in the skilled-metal trades before.  Lucy and Ruel moved from Wayne, Maine in 1860 to Skowhegan, Maine in 1870, to Missiquoi, Québec, Canada in 1881, to Bedford, Québec, Canada in 1886.  Unfortunately my grandfather Ruel died there from pneumonia on 29 Feb 1889.  Lucy, now a widow, moved to Newport, New Hampshire where she is in the 1900 census living with her brother-in-law Stephen Farwell, her sister Ann’s widowed husband.  Lucy died on 18 Jun 1916, and is buried with her husband in the Elkins Cemetery in Elkins, New Hampshire.  It’s funny that I never noticed the Mason symbol on the gravestone until just now.

Ruel Nason & Lucy Folsom Grave - Elkins Cemetery, Elkins, NH

Ruel Nason & Lucy Folsom Grave – Elkins Cemetery, Elkins, NH

Finally, Tom sent a photo of Lucy Folsom as an older woman, taken around 1915.  I like the dignified feeling of this one.  It feels like a woman looking back at a long and full life.  She seems lost in her memories.

Lucy Folsom Nason c1915

Lucy Folsom Nason c1915

As usual, many thanks to my cousin Tom Forrest and to Pamela Burrell Antoni for these incredible photos!

Folsom Family Images

For some reason the floodgates have opened on my Folsom family recently, so I apologize for so many blogs about them in a row.  I’m sure I’ll get back to other things soon enough… however!

Today the Town Archivist for New London, New Hampshire, Jim Perkins, sent me two photos very much related to my family.  The first is a photo of a home built by my 3x great grand uncle, Charles Edward Folsom (1833-1919).  It appears to be a very lovely home that was connected to a very lovely barn by way of a heated, covered living area with upstairs living quarters and large plate-glass windows.  It was referred to locally, apparently, as “Folsom’s Folly”, and was built in 1871 in Elkins, New Hampshire:

Scytheville, Charles E. Folsom House, Built 1871, “Folsom’s Folly”

He writes further, regarding Charles E. Folsom:

Charles E. Folsom started working at the scythe company in 1868. Serving as foreman of manufacturing, he soon became a partner by purchasing an $8,000 share of the business in 1869.  He built the house, quite ambitious for the neighborhood, in 1871. It apparently required the excavation of some massive glacial boulders and earned the nickname “Folsom’s Follie.” The scythe company went bankrupt in 1887 and its real assets were sold at public auction in June 1888. The town history says that Charles E. Folsom went on to “similar work in Winsted, Connecticut.” The town history (published in 1899) also says that he resided in Scytheville from 1869 to 1889. It mentions that his wife, who died in 1895, is buried in the village cemetery. It looks like he died at age 85 in Hudson, Maine, in 1919.

Checking the town reports, we find that Charles E. Folsom was on the “prudential committee” for School District No. 5, whose schoolhouse was located nearby. It’s not clear whether he was the entire committee or the chairman, but his reports appear in the town records for 1877 and 1878 along with some transfers of school tax money.

I was able to determine today that when Charles’s first wife, Mary Elizabeth Shackley, died in 1895, he married her niece, Laura E Shackley in 1899. The two of them are living with Laura’s brother, James Shackley, in the 1910 census for Hudson, Maine. James was both Charles’s brother-in-law and the nephew of his first wife!

The second photo is of Charles E. Folsom’s son, Edward N. Folsom (1864-1902).  It seems to have been taken as a student photo during his days at the “Colby Academy”.  I love the first time I get to put a face with a name from the family tree.  It ranges from thrilling to overwhelmingly emotional, depending on the person in question:

“Edward N. Folsom of Scytheville / Elkins. Colby Academy ’83. d. December 1902”

Scythe Manufacturing – Part II

I’m getting a clearer picture of the forces at work that brought certain parts of my family together.  Specifically the Folsom, Gilman, and Nason families, who moved around following opportunities in the skilled metal-working trade (making scythes and axes).

The family of my 4x great-grandfather Charles Taylor Folsom was living in Waterville, Maine and he was listed as a “mechanic” in the 29 Aug 1850 census.  Only two months later the same family was caught by the census-takers again after having moved to Fayette, Maine (which was the home town of Charles’s wife Elizabeth Judkins).  There he and his son Charles Edward Folsom began working for the North Wayne Scythe Company and are listed as “Scythe Manufacturers” on the second census.

Scythes from the North Wayne Tool Company

Scythe shop workers at the North Wayne factory.

In 1857 the North Wayne Scythe Company burns down, so Charles T moved the family to New London, New Hampshire, part of which used to be named “Scytheville” because of the large scythe-manufacturing facility there.  He and his son are again listed as “scythe manufactures” in the 1860 census for New London, working at the New London Scythe Company.

“The enlarged forge shop (old stone shop) and other buildings. Note the tracks, catwalk, etc. In left across pond is a carriage shed for Scythe Co. Beyond that a double house. Over the right corner of the shop is another company house (1 of 3). Between the shop roof and the Phillips House may be seen the roof of the early office and paint shop — later the Scytheville Post Office.” – Courtesy of the New London Town Archives

“Scytheville (c. 1875). Forge Shop, built 1866. Phillips House and worker tenements in the background.” – Courtesy of the New London Town Archives

“New London Scythe Company, 1871. Business offices, final polishing, painting, and shipping.” – Courtesy of the New London Town Archives.

According to the New London Town Archives, Charles E. Folsom served as foreman of manufacturing and then became a partner by purchasing an $8,000 share of the business in 1869.  Unfortunately the scythe company went bankrupt in 1887, so the younger Charles left town and “went on to similar work in Winsted, Connecticut”.

My 3x great-grandfather Ruel Nason was also born in Maine and also lived in Norridgewock, Maine.  His father Uriah Nason was a farmer.  Ruel then moved to Wayne, Maine, where he met and married Charles T. Folsom’s daughter Lucy Gilman Folsom about 1856.  The couple was living next door to Charles E. Folsom in 1860.  Ruel is listed as an “axe maker” and Charles E. Folsom as a “scythe maker” in that census.

Ruel then moved to Skowhegan, Maine where he was working as an axe manufacturer in 1870.  In 1881 he moved to Bedford, Canada and continued working in the same capacity.  By 1886 he had moved back to Bedford, New Hampshire where he died in 1889 from pneumonia.  Charles T. Folsom had died from pneumonia in 1886 in New London, New Hampshire.  His wife died only three weeks before him, likely of pneumonia as well.

The Gilman family also started off in Maine.  Joseph Gilman married Florilla Folsom in Norridgewock, Maine in 1847.  They then moved to Fayette and Waterville, Maine in 1850 where Joesph was working as a scythe manufacturer, a trade he continued after the family moved with the Folsoms to New London, New Hampshire according to the 1860 and 1870 census.

Joseph’s sons Charles and Clarence Gilman are both living side-by-side in the 1880 census for New London, New Hampshire.  Clarence is living with his mother, the widowed Florilla Folsom Gilman and her other son Fred Gilman.  Charles T. Folsom, his wife Elizabeth Judkins, and brother-in-law Stephen Judkins are living nearby, as is Charles E. Folsom and his wife Mary Shackley.  Charles Gilman is listed as a “scythe plater”.  Charles T Folsom is a “scythe polisher”.  Fred Gilman is listed as a “scythe plater”.  Charles E Folsom is listed as a “scythe manufacturer”.

In 1901 Charles Gilman went to Bedford, Canada (as Ruel Nason had in the 1880s) where he was working as an “axe manufacturer” in the 1901 census.  His brother Clarence Gilman was in Highgate, Vermont plying the same trade at that point.  Clarence then also went to Bedford, Canada and both Charles and Clarence were living together there and working as scythe manufacturers in 1911.

Bedford Axe Company, Bedford, Canada.

So working through Maine, New Hampshire, and Canada, the three families lived near each other, married into each other, and worked in the metal-working trades together.

Folsom Family Found

I had spent months trying to find the parents of my 4x great-grandfather Charles T. Folsom (1808 – 1886) about whom I have written previously.

Grave of Charles T. Folsom and Elizabeth Judkins.

Charles was a scythe manufacturer, and was born in Leeds, Maine.  He and his family (along with other families related to me) moved around following this “skilled-metal manufacturing” trade.  But I just could not find Charles’s parents!  Very frustrating.

In my usual pattern of pursuing all avenues, apparently, at some point, I had sent an email to the reference section of the Maine State Library looking for any information about Charles.  Today they wrote me back with some pretty amazing news:

According to Elizabeth Knowles Folsom in “Genealogy of the Folsom Family”, Charles Taylor Folsom was born in Leeds on the first of August, 1808. His parents were Gordon and Mary (Taylor) Folsom [actually Nancy Taylor, not Mary], and his siblings were Mary, Seneca and James.

So, yes, there is an entire book written about my ancestors from this family [“Genealogy of the Folsom Family: A Revised and Extended Edition, Including English Records, 1638-1938”, by Elizabeth Knowles Folsom (1938).].  It’s pretty incredible, and goes all the way up to my great-aunt Helen “Duffy” Forrest.  Once I found the book and was able to get over the hump of finding Charles’s parents, I was able to trace this line entirely back to the original immigrant, John Foulsham, who was born about 1613 in Hingham, England and settled in Exeter, New Hampshire, where he died 27 Dec 1681.  There’s a plaque there in his honor:

Plaque in Exeter, New Hampshire honoring John Foulsham and his wife Mary Gilman.

Here is the lineage that links me to him:

John Foulsham Folsom (1613 – 1681)
Nathaniel Folsom (1644 – 1714) Son of John
Nathaniel Folsom Jr. (1698 – 1747) Son of Nathaniel
Capt. Benjamin Folsom (1730 – 1815) Son of Nathaniel
Tristram S Folsom (1761 – 1811) Son of Capt. Benjamin
Gordon Folsom (1788 – 1813) Son of Tristram S
Charles Taylor Folsom (1808 – 1886) Son of Gordon
Lucy Gilman Folsom (1835 – 1916) Daughter of Charles Taylor
Helen Maria Nason (1863 – 1912) Daughter of Lucy Gilman
Lulu Maria Cairns (1888 – 1975) Daughter of Helen Maria
Mildred Jean Forrest (1915 – 2006) Daughter of Lulu Maria
Frederick Clifford Thomas III (1941 – ) Son of Mildred Jean

So, yes.  Another line of Pilgrims, replete with heroes of the Revolutionary War, etc.  My father’s New England roots grow ever deeper.