Category Archives: Thomas

DNA Matches and the Thomas Line

I have written extensively about my Thomas family line in the past.  Specifically about the extensive (although not conclusive) evidence that my 4x great-grandfather James S. Thomas (1782-1868) was the son of Revolutionary War veteran Beriah Thomas (1742-1846) and his wife Elizabeth Hutchinson.  The link between James and Beriah has never been entirely confirmed, but I was about 95% certain that Beriah Thomas was the father of James.

Beyond that, I had some evidence (mostly circumstantial) that Beriah’s parents were John Thomas and Abigail Griffin, mostly because they were the only Thomas family listed in the records for Simsbury, Connecticut, where Beriah himself said that he was born (per his paperwork to obtain a pension for his Revolutionary War service).

Today a new DNA match on Ancestry DNA showed up linking my father’s line to Abigail Griffin’s line, which is a pretty important bit of evidence that the parentage of James and Beriah is indeed what I had thought.  The link shows that I’m potentially related to this descendant of Sgt. John Griffin through Abigail Griffin’s aunt Mary Griffin:

DNAMatchJohnGrifffin

It’s possible, of course, that our common DNA match is not this line (we could be related in some other way), but it’s unlikely.

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of questions left to answer: Who were the parents of John Thomas?  Who were the parents of Beriah’s wife Elizabeth Hutchinson (1743-1814)?  But at least this is a compelling bit of evidence that John Thomas and Abigail Griffin were, in fact, the ancestors of James S. Thomas.


Immigrant Ancestors from England

A look at some of the branches of my family I’ve traced back to England, and the original immigrant ancestors from those lines.

Fairbanks

Jonathan Fairbanks arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1633 from Yorkshire, England before settling in Dedham, Massachusetts.  The weird thing about the Fairbanks family is that they touch mine via marriage of Jane Fairbanks to Rev. William Duff, who lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia!

Jonathan Fairbanks (1595 – 1668)
George Fairbanks II (1619 – 1683) Son of Jonathan
Eliezur Fairbanks III (1655 – 1741) Son of George
Cap. Eleasur Fairbanks IV (1690 – 1741) Son of Eliezur
Eleazer Fairbanks (1716 – 1760) Son of Cap. Eleasur
Rufus Fairbanks (1759 – 1842) Son of Eleazer
John Eleazer Fairbanks (1793 – 1860) Son of Rufus
Jane Elizabeth Fairbanks (1823 – 1871 Daughter of John Eleazer
Annie E. Prescott Duff (1847 – 1930) Daughter of Jane Elizabeth

Jones

Thomas Jones (1620 – 1671) arrived from Hampshire, England to Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1638.  His great-granddaughter Sarah Jones married Newton Ransom (1722-1796):

Sarah Jones (1724 – 1804)
Dr Luther Ransom (1758 – 1832) son of Sarah
Sophia Ransom (1792 – 1868) daughter of Luther
Charles H Thomas (1821 – 1873) son of Sophia

William Jones came from England to Massachusetts, likely around 1640.  His descendant Mehitable Jones married Paul Dexter Pond (1760-1843):

William Jones (1589 – 1677)
Thomas Jones (1645 – 1679) son of William
Thomas Jones (1674 – 1729) son of Thomas
Aaron Jones (1713 – 1742) son of Thomas
Samuel Jones (1740 – 1786) son of Aaron
Mehetabel Jones (1765 – 1841) daughter of Samuel
Samuel Pond (1790 – 1865) son of Mehetabel
Louisa “Lois” Adams Pond (1823 – 1896) daughter of Samuel

Knight

Richard Knight (1603-1683) arrived in Newbury, Massachusetts in April, 1635 aboard the ship “James” with another of my ancestors, Anthony Morse.  His daughter Elizabeth Knight married Anthony Morse (1631-1677):

Deacon Richard Knight Sr. (1603 – 1683)
Elizabeth Knight (1639 – 1667) Daughter of Deacon Richard
Ens. Anthony Morse (1662 – 1710) Son of Elizabeth
Elizabeth Morse (1697 – 1762) Daughter of Ens. Anthony
Nathaniel Morse (1728 – 1781) Son of Elizabeth
David Morse (1756 – 1840) Son of Nathaniel
Sally Maria “Mariah” Morse (1805 – 1890) Daughter of David
Louisa “Lois” A. Pond (1823 – 1896) Daughter of Sally Maria “Mariah”

Lathrop

Samuel Lathrop came to Plymouth from Egerton, Kent, England in 1634.  His descendant Sarah Lathrop Adams (1765-1857) married David Morse (1756 – 1840) thus combining two Pilgrim lines:

Samuel Lathrop Lothrop (1623 – 1700)
Israel Lathrop Lothrop (1659 – 1733) Son of Samuel
Samuel Lathrop (1692 – 1753) Son of Israel
Capt Elisha Lathrop (1713 – 1787) Son of Samuel
Sarah Lathrop (1765 – 1857) Daughter of Capt Elisha
Sally Maria “Mariah” Morse (1805 – 1890) Daughter of Sarah
Louisa “Lois” A. Pond (1823 – 1896) Daughter of Sally Maria “Mariah”

Morse

Anthony Morse came from Marlborough, Wiltshire, England, and settled in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1635. Apparently Anthony testified at his sister-in-law’s trial where she was accused of being a witch!  His descendant Sally Maria Morse married Samuel Pond (1790-1865):

Anthony Morse Sr. (1606 – 1686)
Deacon Benjamin Morse (1641 – 1707) Son of Anthony
Deacon William Morse (1673 – 1749) Son of Deacon Benjamin
Daniel Morse Sr. (1697 – 1766) Son of Deacon William
Nathaniel Morse (1728 – 1781) Son of Daniel
David Morse (1756 – 1840) Son of Nathaniel
Sally Maria “Mariah” Morse (1805 – 1890) Daughter of David
Louisa “Lois” A. Pond (1823 – 1896) Daughter of Sally Maria “Mariah”

Polley

George Polley (1625 – 1683) came to Woburn, Massachusetts before 1649 from Shoreditch, Middlesex, England.  His grand-daughter Mary Polley married Thomas Jones (1681-1729):

George Polley (1625 – 1683)
George Polley (1656 – 1698) Son of George
Mary Polley (1682 – 1729) Daughter of George
Sarah Jones (1724 – 1804) Daughter of Mary
Dr Luther Ransom (1758 – 1832) Son of Sarah
Sophia Ransom (1792 – 1868) Daughter of Dr Luther
Charles H. L. Thomas (1821 – 1873) Son of Sophia

Pond

Daniel Pond arrived in Dedham, Massachusetts from Edwardston, England in 1630.  His descendant Lois Pond married Charles H. Thomas.

Daniel Pond (1627 – 1697)
Ephraim Pond (1656 – 1704) Son of Daniel
Samuel Pond (1729 – 1806) Son of Ephraim
Paul D Pond (1760 – 1843) Son of Samuel
Samuel Pond (1791 – 1866) Son of Paul D
Louisa “Lois” A. Pond (1823 – 1896) Daughter of Samuel

Ransom

Robert Ransom arrived in Massachusetts from England in 1654.  His descendant Sophia Ransom was the mother of Charles H.L. Thomas

Robert Ransom (1637 – 1697)
Joshua Ransom (1665 – 1713) Son of Robert
Robert Ransom (1687 – 1777) Son of Joshua
Newton Ransom (1722 – 1796) Son of Robert
Dr Luther Ransom (1758 – 1832) Son of Newton
Sophia Ransom (1792 – 1868) Daughter of Dr Luther
Charles H. L. Thomas (1821 – 1873) Son of Sophia

Smith

Richard Smith (1596-1666), came to the US from Gloucestershire, England and settled in Rhode Island in the 1630’s.  He established a trading post on the western side of the Narragansett Bay at a place called Cocumscussoc, later to become the village of Wickford in modern-day North Kingstown, Rhode Island.  His daughter Joan Smith married Thomas Newton (1630-1683):

Richard Smith (1596 – 1666)
Joan Smith (1627 – 1664) daughter of Richard
Capt James Newton (1654 – 1739) son of Joan
Alice Newton (1686 – 1779) daughter of Capt James
Newton Ransom (1722 – 1796) son of Alice
Dr Luther Ransom (1758 – 1832) son of Newton
Sophia Ransom (1792 – 1868) daughter of Dr Luther
Charles H Thomas (1821 – 1873) son of Sophia

Taylor

Nancy Taylor, born about 1784, was born in London, England according to her son Seneca Folsom’s death record.  She married Gordon Folsom (1788-1813) on 27 Jan 1806 in Rome, Kennebec, Maine.  She died about 1835 in Monmouth, Kennebec, Maine.  She is one of the only English direct ancestors I have that didn’t arrive at the time of the Pilgrims.

Nancy Taylor (1784 – 1835)
Charles Taylor Folsom (1808 – 1886) son of Nancy Taylor
Lucy Gilman Folsom (1835 – 1916) daughter of Charles Taylor Folsom
Helen Maria Nason (1863 – 1912) daughter of Lucy Gilman Folsom

Wolcott

Simon Wolcott arrived in Dorchester, Massachusetts with his parents Henry Wolcott (1579 – 1655) and Elizabeth Saunders (1584 – 1655) at the age of six from Tolland, England.  His descendant Theodosia Wolcott married Dr. Luther Ransom:

Simon Wolcott (1624 – 1687)
Henry Wolcott (1670 – 1747) Son of Simon
Thomas Wolcott Sr (1702 – 1762) Son of Henry
Luke Wolcott (1730 – 1762) Son of Thomas
Theodosia Wolcott (1762 – 1825) Daughter of Luke
Sophia Ransom (1792 – 1868) Daughter of Theodosia
Charles H. L. Thomas (1821 – 1873) Son of Sophia

 


The Parents of Sally Maria “Mariah” Morse (1805-1890)

This morning I got an email from a cousin related to my Morse and Pond families.  She was writing about my 4x great-grandmother Sally Maria “Mariah” Morse.  She asked:

“Do you have firm evidence that Sally Maria Morse ( Samuel Pond’s wife) was in fact the daughter of David Morse? I have seen other trees that attribute her parentage to a Benjamin Morse.”

Here is what I’ve been able to piece together about this. (Note: For purposes of disambiguation, I’m going to refer to my grandmother as “Sally” despite the fact that she actually always went by “Mariah” or “Maria” in all the records we have for her.)

According to the Morse Society, Sally was born on 24 Mar 1805 to David Morse and his second wife Sarah Lathrop in Sharon, Vermont.  Indeed Sally’s headstone in Burke, New York gives that as her birth date.

SallyMorseGrave

Sally Morse’s grave in Burke Center Cemetery.

Sally’s obituary states: “In Malone (NY) Aug. 23rd, Mariah Morse, relict of the late Samuel Pond of Burke (New York), died aged 85 years 5 months.  Deceased was born in Sharon, VT, March 24, 1805, and moved with her parents to Chateaugay, this County (Franklin County, New York) in 1809.”  It also indicates she moved to Burke, NY around 1830.

MariahMorseObit1890

Obituary from the Franklin Gazette (Malone, NY), Friday August 29, 1890.

We do, indeed, see David Morse in Sharon, VT in the 1800 Census, then in Chateaugay, NY in the 1810 and 1820 Census, so that fits perfectly with what the obituary says.

David Morse died in 1840 in Johnstown, NY.  If we look in the 1850 Census for Burke, NY we can see Sally with her husband Samuel Pond, and eight of their children.  Also living with them is Sarah Lathrop Morse (age 85):

SamuelPondCensus1850_zoom

Pond Family 1850, Burke, NY

It was very common for elderly women to live with one of their children after their husbands passed away.

David Morse was, according to his death notice, a “patriot of the revolution”.  He was also listed as a veteran in the 1840 census for Johnstown, New York.

DavidMorseDeath1840

David Morse death notice, Albany Argus, Albany, New York, 14 Jul 1840

(Note: I have found reference to a “Sergeant David Morse” who served in Guilford, Connecticut before and after the Revolutionary War, but I don’t believe this is my ancestor.  So far I have not managed to find reference to a David Morse in the Revolutionary War that matches what we know of my grandfather.)

David’s wife Sarah Lathrop received pension payments of $96/year for her husband’s military service (wherein he is also described as a sergeant).  The payments stop after a final payment in March 1857, and no payment is made in September 1857.

DavidMorsePension1857

David Morse Pension, 1857

Sarah Lathrop Morse died in Burke, NY on 2 Jun 1857 (between the pension payment that was made and the one that was not made).  She was buried in Burke.  From this, we know the Sarah who died in Burke and had been living with Sally is the same Sarah who had been married to David Morse.  This, to me, firmly establishes the link of Sally Morse Pond to David Morse and Sarah Lathrop.

On the other side of this, evidence-wise, is a copy of a birth record from New Hampshire which shows a Mariah Morse born to Benjamin Morse and his wife Abigail exactly one year earlier on 24 Mar 1804 in Haverhill, New Hampshire.

MariahMorseBirth1804

Mariah Morse Birth, 1804

This Benjamin Morse married Abigail Emery in Orford, New Hampshire on 31 Dec 1799, and had at least six children in Haverhill.

There is a Benjamin Morse in the census for Sharon, VT for 1800 with two sons and two daughters, but this Benjamin Morse was having children in that town as early as 1791 (Son Henry Morse, alongside Benjamin in the 1840 census, was born in Sharon on 16 Jun 1791). This rules him out as the Benjamin who married Abigail Emery and moved to Haverhill.

The Benjamin from Haverhill seems to have stayed in New Hampshire; he is in the Haverhill Census for 1800 and 1810, and in the 1850 census for Concord, New Hampshire living with his daughter Harriet (who was born in Haverhill).

We have seen that our Sally Morse moved to Chateaugay in 1809, whereas Benjamin Morse is in the 1810 Census for Haverhill with three young daughters.  We also have birth records for three daughters born to him in Haverhill between his marriage and 1810, one of whom is Mariah Morse.  So it would seem from this that the Mariah Morse who was born in Haverhill was still there with her parents in 1810, not in Chateaugay, New York with David Morse.  This makes unlikely the idea that she was born to Benjamin in Haverhill, but then went to live with David in Chateaugay as an adopted child.

Going back to Sally’s birth… she was said in her obit to have been born in Sharon, VT on 24 Mar 1805.  David Morse is indeed seen in the 1800 Census for Sharon, Vermont with his first wife Esther Larabee.  Esther died 31 Dec 1803 in Sharon (her death was recorded in nearby Royalton, VT), and David married Sarah Lathrop on 21 Feb 1804 in Sharon, VT according to the Morse Society.  So that aligns well with them having a daughter a year later in March, 1805.

EstherLaribeeDeath1803

Esther Laribee Death, 1803

Sally, for her part, gives her birthplace as “Vermont” in the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 Census records.  She certainly believed she was born in Vermont and not in New Hampshire.

I believe at this point that the name and birth day are a coincidence, and the Mariah Morse born in New Hampshire is not Sally Maria “Mariah” Morse.

 

 


Thomas Family Portraits

My first trip back to the family stomping grounds of Vermont in 35 years was a particularly rewarding experience in many ways.  Prior to the trip I was missing photographs of two great-great-grandparents, and there were two of my great-grandparents who only had mediocre photos.  I was fortunate enough that new photos of all four of these ancestors were located during the trip!  Extremely exciting.

The first two portraits are owned by my great-uncle Charles Fogg Thomas.  He has kept them safe for many, many years after getting them from his father.  The pictures are hand-painted tintype photographs taken around the time of the marriage of my great-great-grandparents Horace Luther Thomas and Anna Clifford in 1872.  Horace would have been 25 years old and Anna would have been 20 years old.  They are in very elaborate “shadow box” frames, which made them hard to copy, but I managed to get good photographs of them.

Horace Luther Thomas c1872

Horace Luther Thomas c1872

Anna Clifford c1872

Anna Clifford c1872

The next two portraits are of Horace and Anna later in life, probably about 1925.

Horace Luther Thomas c1925

Horace Luther Thomas c1925

Anna Clifford c1925

Anna Clifford c1925

The next photo was taken about 1910.  It shows the family of Jean Gregoire Bacon, my great-great-grandfather.  This is the only known photo of Jean and his wife Cordélie Olivier, so it was particularly emotional to see it for the first time.

Across the back are their children, Olive “Eva” Bacon, Delia Bacon (my great-grandmother) and Alexander Bacon.  Jean and Cordélie are seated in front.  Delia and her mother died from pneumonia four days apart in 1918, after contracting Spanish Influenza.

BaconFamily1910

Jean Gregoire Bacon and family c1910. Olive, Delia, Alex (back row), Jean & Cordelia Oliver seated.

This final portrait is particularly poignant.  After Delia Bacon died in 1918 her husband Fred Thomas Sr. was left with two children to care for and a full-time job to hold down.  He ended up deciding to temporarily place his children with family members.  This photo must have been taken at some point in 1919, about a year after Delia’s death.  It shows Fred with his daughter Grace (left) and Fred Jr. (right).  It is the first clear photo of Fred Sr’s face that I’ve ever seen.

It’s poignant because Fred Jr. and Grace are holding on to each other’s hands, and Fred Jr. is holding on to his father’s hand, but right around this time all three of them were living in different homes.  They would never be a family in the same way again.

Fred Thomas Sr with daughter Grace (left) and son Fred Jr (right) about 1919.

Fred Thomas Sr with daughter Grace (left) and son Fred Jr (right) about 1919.


The “Lost” Son of Warren Perry Thomas & Marion Dixon

Warren Perry Thomas (1860-1896) was my 2nd great grand-uncle, which means he was the brother of my great-great-grandfather Horace Luther Thomas.  As I have written about previously, Warren was killed in a tragic locomotive explosion near Yantic, Connecticut that killed three of the four-person crew.  Warren’s brother Charles Franklin Thomas, the conductor, survived. Following his death, Warren’s wife Marion Dixon was said to be in very bad shape: WarrenThomasClip1896 She did, however, receive an insurance policy of $1000 to help her in this difficult time:

Settlement for Warren's Death.

Settlement for Warren’s Death.

The first newspaper clipping also mentioned Warren’s two children, a “young son and daughter”.  We knew that the daughter was Mildred Marion Thomas (1895 – 1987), but for almost two years we didn’t know what happened to the son.  Marion and Mildred are together in the 1905 census for Gouverneur, NY, and also un the 1910 census for Burlington, Vermont.  No son in either case.  We supposed that the boy had died in childhood as often happened back then, or that his mother, ill, alone, and overwhelmed with two children, had perhaps sent him to Canada to live with her relatives there.  He was noted as “unknown son” and we left it as that. Then earlier this week I found that Mildred had died in California, and that she had married a man named Willard Henry Speer [her third husband, as it turns out].  Since my cousin Jeannie Halversen lives in California and knows its genealogical resources very well, I asked her if she would accept the mission to find Mildred’s death record and/or obituary to see if she had any living descendants.  She agreed and was very successful, determining that Marion had married three times, but didn’t have any children from any of those marriages, so there was no hope of finding a living descendant of Warren’s there.  A dead end. However, Jeannie sent me a follow-up email with an interesting tidbit:

On the California Death index there is a Delbert Wilford Thomas b-24 May 1885 Canada English, d-4 June 1969, San Francisco, California.  Mothers maiden name is Dixon. He has 1903 listed as the year he moved to the United States from Canada.  Since Marion and Warren were married there in 1880 it is possible that it could be the son.  Thoughts?

What followed was a thrilling evening of genealogical research.  Jeannie and I went back and forth for hours, each person putting one more piece of the puzzle in place with every turn.  Eventually, by 1:30am Wisconsin time, we had determined that Delbert was indeed the missing son of Warren Thomas.  We had also found two living descendants of his and gotten their phone numbers.  I waited until morning to call them, and we have been in touch since then.  A more complete version of the story of Warren’s missing son can now be told, thanks to his grand-daughters Sharon & Susan Martin.

Delbert Wilford Thomas, or “Skipper” as his family called him, was born on 24 May 1885 in Winchester, Ontario, Canada, the home town of his mother Marion Dixon.

WarrenThomasDelbertThomasMarionDixon1890_med

Warren P. Thomas, Delbert Thomas, and Marion Dixon c1890

His grand-daughters say that his second wife Laura “Tommy” Johnson came from a Mormon family, although apparently Clifford Johnson, the patriarch, was something called a “Jack Mormon”, which sounds something like a “Lapsed Catholic”.  He swore and drank, so wasn’t particularly strict.  Laura’s mother Millie “Johnnie” Apperly was described as a “cowboy’s wife”.  Millie was in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and was very upset because she left her hat collection in the house and the family wouldn’t let her run back inside to get them when the quake struck.  There is also a rumor that one of the commanders of “Franklin’s Lost Expedition” to the North Pole (where there was cannibalism and lead poisoning) was a family member from that side.

MildredMarionThomas&DelbertThomas1897

Mildred and Delbert Thomas c1897

Delbert Thomas was said to have ridden with Teddy Roosevelt in Cuba when he was only 14 or 15 years old having lied about his age to join the cavalry.  Susan said that Delbert’s mother came down to Cuba to pull him out of the cavalry after informing them that he was too young to serve!  It was also her impression that he was in the Cavalry in WWI. Laura’s Johnson’s family were horse traders, and Paula Thomas grew up with her parents following a circuit of horse-racing that went from Vancouver to Tijuana, Mexico and back, racing at horse tracks along the way.  It was apparently a bit like a traveling circus in that everyone was a band (riders, trainers, owners) and there was some degree of community child-rearing that went on.  Susan said that Paula told her about Seabiscuit being in that same circuit and that the rider and trainer of Seabiscuit were friends of the family.

Paula and her family moved to San Francisco when Paula was school aged.  They lived in the “North Beach” part of San Francisco, which Paula described as having “no prejudice at all”.  It was basically a colorblind place where blacks and whites co-mingled in a totally free manner.  Later, when Paula was about high-school age the family moved to San Jose and Paula was shocked at the racism that was there.  There were big bands that came through with Black musicians and they were treated poorly in a way that she had never experienced in San Francisco. Laura was a WAC or something equivalent in WWI and went back during WWII.

Paula went to nursing school in San Francisco and the family lived on the famous Lombard Street where they were apartment managers in addition to their other jobs. Susan said “Skipper” played semi-pro baseball with the San Francisco Seals, although I’ve had no luck proving that part of the story so far.  Susan said he was very tall, 6’4″ or 6’5″ and “all knees and elbows”.  She has many memories of him sitting in a large chair in his living room listening to the Giant’s baseball games on the radio. Delbert had a boat and Susan has memories of going out on the bay with him.  She always thought of him as an “ex-military” man.  He had a strict, military-style mustache that was close-cropped and scratched when he kissed his granddaughters.

DelbertThomas1940

Delbert Thomas c1940

He was also a former dentist and “had a passion for dentistry”, so every time the granddaughters came to his house he was always looking in their mouths and examining their teeth.

She described Delbert as a “quiet man” who “lived an incredibly full life”.

Delbert Thomas, Laura Johnson, Susan & Sharon Martin 1960

Delbert Thomas, Laura Johnson, Susan & Sharon Martin 1960

Delbert “Skipper” Thomas’s first son, Harold Gordon Thomas was born in Hyrum, Utah on 10 May 1912.  His mother was Skipper’s first wife, Alice Stuart Richardson Weddell.  Alice was a Scottish immigrant who came to the US board the SS Devonia from Perth, Scotland on 16 May 1887 at one year of age.  She settled with her family in Shelburne, Vermont where her father Alexander worked as a coachman.

Alice and Delbert were married in 1909, and moved to Utah by 1910.  They lived first in Hyrum, where Harold was born, then in Salt Lake City.  Skipper was working as a dentist at that point.  In 1919 she and Skipper split up and Alice took Gordon back to Vermont where they were living with Alice’s family in Burlington in 1920. Alice remarried to David Phineus Carlton Stockwell, and they had three children, one of which survived childhood.  His name was Harland David Stockwell Sr.

On 31 Dec 1934, Harold married Dorothy Catherine Fortune, one of the nine daughters (no sons!) of William Fortune and Jennie Casey.  Dorothy had been married once before to Richard Joseph Ryan, but it doesn’t seem that they had any children.  Around the same time, Harold took a job with the City Fire Department of Burlington, VT, where he worked from 1934 to 1944. In 1945 Harold and Dorothy moved to East Hartford, Connecticut where Harold took a job with the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Division, one of the largest aircraft engine manufacturers in the world.

I still don’t know if Harold and Dorothy had any children, but they hadn’t had any before 1940. Harold died 13 Jan 1975 in East Hartford at the age of only 62.  His wife Dorothy died 2 Jun 1987 in the same town at the age of 81.


Thomas Family Religion

I thought it might be interesting to post any information I could find about the religious beliefs of the Thomas line of my family.  I may add to this as I find out more.

My 3x great-grandfather Charles H. Thomas (1821-1873) married Louisa A. Pond (1823-1896) around 1845, probably in Burke, New York.  Before her marriage, Louisa had been one of the founding members of the Burke Presbyterian Church per an historical article published in the “Malone Farmer” in 1933.  The article also mentions many members of the Morse family (Louisa’s mother was Sally Mariah Morse).

“Other charter members were [..] Miss Lois Pond…”

"Malone Farmer", 1933

“Malone Farmer”, 1933

My great-great grandfather, Horace Luther Thomas [son of Charles and Louisa] married Anna Clifford on 3 Jul 1872.  The official was listed as “Rev. A. J. Ingalls, Methodist Pastor”.  Rev. Ingalls was the pastor of the First Methodist Church in Winooski during the years 1871-1872 according to the “History of Chittenden County”, p 568.  So Horace and his wife attended the Methodist church in Winooski at least that early.

Thomas / Clifford marriage, 1872

Thomas / Clifford marriage, 1872

My father simply called Horace a “Protestant” in this little story about his great-grandfather:

“Horace was a Protestant and he was a strong Republican. And he lived in Winooski which was a very Catholic community, very union-dominated, so the Democratic Party was real strong in Winooski because they were in those woolen mills which was the lifeblood of the whole town.  So it was Election Day and he had just voted. And the union had a couple of thugs outside the polling place to try to intimidate people. And these two union guys were talking to each other and they see my great grandfather coming down the sidewalk and they says, ‘Here comes one of those Goddamn Republican Protestants right now.’ And my great grandfather steps up to the guy and he flattens him right on the side with one punch. “

Horace was confirmed in the “Holy Trinity Chapel” in Winooski, Vermont on 15 Jul 1896.  He was 49 years old, and the confirmation happened around the same time his son, Horace Jr., was confirmed (14 Jun 1896), and on the same day that his daughter Anna Thomas was confirmed.  I believe Holy Trinity, which was established in 1876, was an Episcopal Church.

Horace Thomas confirmation, 1896

Horace Thomas confirmation, 1896

Both Horace and his wife Anna had their funerals at “Trinity Episcopal Church” in Winooski.  Presumably the same one where he was confirmed.  Anna was a member of the Ladies’ Auxiliary there.

Their daughter, Emma Thomas (1878-1931) was married at the Trinity Episcopal church in Winooski.

Their son, Robert Erwin Thomas (1887-1965), was a member of the Trinity Episcopal church in Winooski, Trinity Episcopal in Milton, Vermont, and his funeral was held at Saint James Episcopal Church in Essex Junction, Vermont.

Their son, Frederick Clifford Thomas Sr. (1889-1976), married his first wife, Delia Bacon, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Delia, like her entire family, was Catholic. Fred was listed as a member of the Episcopal Church of Winooski in his obituary.

Frederick Clifford Thomas Jr. (1918-2006) was married at the Universalist Church in Essex Junction, Vermont.  His wife, Mildred Jean Forrest, was a member of the First Congregational Church in Saint Albans, Vermont, where she was a Deacon.  My father wrote about his parents:

“My father was not at all religious and attended church only when forced by my mother.  I know that he was originally baptized in the Catholic Church which would have been the religion of his mother.  My mother was a devoted Christian and was active in the Congregational Church.  She taught Sunday School for many years, was a member of the choir, and eventually became a deacon of the church.  The Congregational Church is now called The United Church of Christ.”


Thomas Tintype Identities Revisited

I’m going to revisit a couple of tintype photographs in a semi-futile attempt to find out something about them.  This exercise is based on my belief that the man in both of these photographs may be Joel B. Thomas (1842-1925), who was my 1st cousin, 4x removed.  As back-story, these two tintypes (and others) were found hidden in a writing desk that was owned by Charlena Thomas.  Her family said that they are not people from her mother’s side of the family and believe they are from the Thomas side.  Charlena’s grandfather was Charles Franklin Thomas Sr. who would have been Joel’s first cousin.

First of all, this photo compares the man in the tintypes with a photo known to be Joel as an older man:

Man on left is Joel B. Thomas

Man on left is Joel B. Thomas

If, for the purposes of this exercise, we accept that the man on the right is Joel as a younger man, what can we say about these two photos?:

Thomas Tintype 1

Thomas Tintype 1

Let’s call the man on the left “Mustache Man” and the man on the right “Bearded Man”.

Thomas Tintype 2

Thomas Tintype 2

Let’s call the younger man on the left here “Clean-Shaven Man”.

In my estimation Clean-Shaven man is about 20 or 22.  Mustache man is about 33 to 35, and Bearded man is about 40 to 42 years old.  If we accept that Mustache man is Joel B Thomas, then the photos were taken about 1875-1877.  Joel was living in Burlington, Vermont at that time.  What other men from his family were around to be photographed with him at that time?   There aren’t many suspects of the right generation.  Here are four I’ve identified:

  • Beriah Wolcott Thomas (1853-1901): Beriah was Joel’s brother.  He was living in Burlington and would have been about 24 years old.
  • Warren Perry Thomas (1860-1896): Warren was living in Canton, NY and was only about 17 years old at the time.
  • Charles Franklin Thomas (1854-1927): Charles was living in Canton, NY and was about 23 years old.
  • Joel Wells Thomas (1835-1916): Joel was living in Burlington, Vermont and would have been about 42 years old.

We have photos of Charles Franklin Thomas, and he doesn’t look like the younger man.  To me the most likely combination would be:

Bearded Man: Joel Wells Thomas

Mustache Man: Joel B. Thomas

Clean-Shaven Man: Beriah Wolcott Thomas

They are the right ages, and were all living in Burlington, Vermont during the period these photos would have been taken.  This mystery will have to await the discovery of other, identified photos to confirm or refute the theory.

Just for completeness, here are the other tintypes found in the desk with the two shown above:

Unknown man at desk

Unknown man with mustache

Unknown Child

Unknown Child


The Funeral of George W. Doolittle – 1903

George W. Doolittle was the husband of Lillie May Thomas.  Lillie was the daughter of Joel B. Thomas, the grand-daughter of Beriah Ransom Thomas, and the great-grand-daughter of Charles H. Thomas.

Joel B Thomas Family c1890

Joel B Thomas Family c1890

[Joel B Thomas, Amy Thomas, Laura Spaulding, Ila Thomas, Lillie Thomas (clockwise from back left). Courtesy of Suzanne Trifilo.]

I’m posting this because so many of my family members are mentioned in the article:

Mrs. Doolittle (Lillie May Thomas)
Mr. & Mrs. J.B. Thomas (Joel B. Thomas and wife Laura Spaulding)
Alfred E. Spaulding (Laura’s nephew)
William A Spaulding (ditto)
Edgar Jerome Spaulding (ditto)
Roy & Merton Doolittle (sons of George W Doolittle and Lillie May Thomas)
Mrs. Bentley & Daughter (Emma Wright Bentley, sister of George’s first wife Lola Wright, and her daughter Bessie or Bertha).
Una Doolittle (daughter of George W Doolittle and Lillie May Thomas, 16 years old at the time)
Mrs. J. W. Thomas (Emily “Emma” Burrows, wife of Joel Wells Thomas)
Mrs. William Lee (Carrie Thomas, daughter of Joel Wells Thomas)
Mr. and Mrs. Horace Thomas (Horace Luther Thomas and his wife Anna Clifford)

St. Albans Messenger, 10 Sept 1903, Page: 5

St. Albans Messenger, 10 Sept 1903, Page: 5


Charles H. Thomas (1821-1873) and Louisa A. Pond (1823-1896)

Louisa A. “Lois” Pond was my 3x great-grandmother.  Louisa’s father, Samuel Pond, was married first to Betsey Walker, then in November of 1821 he married Louisa “Lois” Adams.  Unfortunately Louisa died only a couple months later in June of 1822.  Her tombstone in the Middlebury Cemetery in Middlebury, Vermont reads “Lois, daughter of Silas and Lois Adams and wife of Samuel Pond died in Chateaugay, NY in June 1822 at the age of 24 years”.

Samuel remarried almost immediately to his third wife,  my 4x great-grandmother, Sally Maria “Mariah” Morse (1805-1890) on 3 Aug 1822.  But Samuel must have still carried a torch for his recently-departed, as he named his first-born child Louisa A [Adams, likely] Pond.  My grandmother was born nine months after the marriage on 11 May 1823 in Burke, New York, and was the first of 13 children.

Louisa was mentioned as one of the founding members of the Burke Presbyterian Church in 1845 when she was 22 years old.

Presbyterianism or Congregationalism in Burke was one with that of Chateaugay until 1845, when, upon the erection of Burke as a town, twenty-six members of the mother church ( which had been formed in 1816) were granted letter of dismission to form a Congregational church in the new town.

"Malone Farmer", Malone, NY, April or June 1933

“Malone Farmer”, Malone, NY, April or June 1933

Right around the same time (1845 or 1846)  Louisa married Charles H. Thomas, a blacksmith.  I believe the “H” stands for Horace, as their first child was given that name.  Charles was born in Chazy, New York in 1821, the son of James S. Thomas and Sophia Ransom.  Their son Horace Luther Thomas was born in Burke on 13 Dec 1946.  Horace was my great-great-grandfather.  Six children followed: Lovisa Maria Thomas (1847-1930), two boys who died in infancy (Charles Thomas and Charles W. Thomas), Alma M. Thomas (1852-1943), Charles Franklin Thomas (1854-1927), and Warren Perry Thomas (1860-1896).  I have written about Charles Franklin and Warren Thomas several times, as they were involved in a tragic train accident in 1896.

Horace Luther Thomas

Horace Luther Thomas

The family appears in the 1850 census for Burke, New York where Charles is 29 years old and is listed as a “Blacksmith”.  My grandfather Horace is only 4 years old.  The Charles Thomas listed here (born about Feb, 1850) is the first of three children with that name.  The first two, as stated previously, died in infancy.

CharlesHThomasCensus1850Zoom

Taylor Family

Taylor Family c1921

Above: Lovisa Thomas (second from left) with her son Francis Lavery and the family of her daughter Addie Lavery Taylor (far left).

The family moved from Burke, New York to Canton, New York [about 55 miles away] sometime between the births of Charles Franklin Thomas in 1854 and his brother Warren in 1860.  The next mention of Charles and Louisa is in the 1860 census for Canton, New York.  Horace is listed as “Henry L” Thomas, his sister Lovisa is listed as “Louisa” (like the mother), and Charles Franklin is listed as “Franklin”.

1860 Census, Burke, NY

1860 Census, Canton, NY

Charles’s Civil War Draft Registration form from June of 1863 lists him as a Blacksmith living in Canton, New York.  Charles was 42 years old at the time.

Civil War Registration, 1863

Civil War Draft Registration, 1863

Charles and Louisa appear again in the 1870 Census for Canton.  Lovisa is already listed as a “Dress Maker”, and Charles Franklin is listed with his brother Warren as “At School”:

1870 Census, Canton, NY

1870 Census, Canton, NY

Charles passed away in Canton on 7 Dec 1873 and was buried in Bridge Cemetery with his wife and his son Warren.  A one-line notice was the only notation I’ve found of his death.

CharlesHThomasObit1873

From the “St. Lawrence Republican”

CharlesHThomasGrave

Charles H Thomas Tombstone, Bridge Cemetery, Canton, NY

After the death of her husband, Louisa stayed in Canton where she and son Warren are found in the 1880 census:

1880 Census, Canton, NY

1880 Census, Canton, NY

In 1885, Louisa married Alvin A. Hine, a 68-year-old, widowed, retired farmer.  This photo of her was likely taken on or around the occasion of her second wedding.  I like this photo because my great-great-grandfather Horace Luther Thomas obviously has the lips, nose, and ears of his mother:

Louisa Pond c1885 courtesy of Dave Momot

Louisa Pond c1885 courtesy of Dave Momot

Louisa’s husband Alvin died on 16 Mar 1896.  Louisa followed on 8 Aug 1896.  Her son Warren was killed on 8 Dec 1896.

Death announcement. From "The Palladium", Malone, New York, Thursday August 20, 1896.

Death announcement. From “The Palladium”, Malone, New York, Thursday August 20, 1896.

Horace Luther Thomas married Anna Elizabeth Clifford, the daughter of Irish immigrants.  They had seven children: Anna, Agnes, Emma, Horace Jr, Nellie, Robert Erwin, and Frederick.  They lived in Winooski, Vermont for almost 60 years where Horace worked as an electrical engineer at the Winooski hydroelectric power plant.

Lovisa Marie Thomas married Julius T Lavery.  They had four children: Martha, Warren, Francis, and Addie.  Lovisa lived in Canton, New York for 70 years where she worked as a dressmaker and seamstress.

Alma M Thomas married Henry H Eggleston, a farmer, about 1870, and they moved between Canton and nearby Potsdam, New York for the next 70 years.  Henry and Alma had two daughters: Frances L “Frankie” Eggleston, and Jessie M Eggleston.

Charles Franklin Thomas was a railroad conductor for many years.  He married Mary M. “Polly” Thomas in Burlington, Vermont in 1876 and they had five children: Charles Franklin Jr, Horace Edward, George, Ira, and Harold Wilmer “Catcher” Thomas.  “Eddie”, “Georgie” and Ira all died in 1889 from Diphtheria.  Charles Jr was killed in a freak train accident in 1899, so Catcher was the only child left to carry on the family line.

Warren Perry Thomas was a miller and a fireman for the Vermont Central Railroad.  He married Marion Dixon in 1880 and they had two children, Delbert Wilford Thomas and Mildred Marion Thomas.  As stated before, Warren was killed in a train explosion in Eagle, Connecticut in 1896.

 


The Mystery of Caroline C. Thomas

In my family tree there are two Caroline Thomases whose lives were, to some degree, intertwined.  I’m going to put all the facts here in this article in an attempt to untangle them to the degree that it’s possible, however, there are certain paradoxes which make this a more difficult task than it might seem.

The first Caroline Thomas was my 3x great-grand aunt, the daughter of James S. Thomas and Sophia Ransom.  She was the sister of my 3x great-grandfather Charles H. Thomas, and (supposedly) the aunt of Charles Franklin Thomas.  The issue here is that there is a Caroline Thomas living with Charles Franklin Thomas at the time of her death, and there is some question in the records as to whether she is his mother-in-law or his (supposed) aunt.  We’ll try to determine the truth of it using all the available documentation.

Note: I will mention at this point that there was a family story told to me by Dave Momot, that Charles Franklin Thomas was actually Caroline’s son and not her nephew.  Supposedly she had him out of wedlock about 1854, and the child was given to her brother Charles H. Thomas to raise to avoid the social implications of unmarried motherhood.  Only when Charles H. Thomas and his wife Louisa Pond both died did she reveal to Charles Franklin Thomas that she was actually his mother and not his aunt.  This story might explain some of what’s to come.

The first mention of this Caroline Thomas is in the 1850 census.  The Thomas family was living in Burke, Franklin, New York with a woman named Catherine Mott.  Caroline is listed as 16 years old (b 1834), born in New York, and her father James is listed as a “Shoemaker”.  Since this is the first record, I tend to take the birth date more seriously for this record since 16-year old women don’t usually fib about their ages.

In the 1860 Census, Caroline is living in the home of her brother Joel Wells Thomas with her parents in Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont.  Her age is 26 (b 1834), and the birthplace listed is New York.

In the 1870 Census for Burlington, Vermont, Caroline is listed as “Caroline C. Thomas”, age 33 (b 1837), born in Vermont.  She is living in the home of Burlington Police Chief Nobel Hanagan where she is listed as a domestic.  Her brother Beriah W. Thomas and her niece Hattie Thomas are living with her.

Caroline’s brother, Charles H Thomas (b 1821), died on 7 Dec 1873 in Canton, Saint Lawrence, New York.  He was listed as a blacksmith, and was only 52 years old.

CharlesHThomasObit1873

St. Lawrence Republican and Ogdensburgh Weekly Journal, 16 Dec 1873, p3

On 5 Jun 1875, there is recorded a marriage between “James Nite” and “Caroline Thomas”.  Caroline is listed as being 43 years old (b 1832), born in New York, and it being her first marriage.  Her parents are listed as James Thomas and Sophia, which matches perfectly.  The year of birth doesn’t really match up with the 1834 we’ve seen previously, but it starts a trend of her birth year creeping backward, opposite of most women who tend to say they are younger than they are when asked in census and other official records (assuming they are not accurate.)

Thomas/Nite Marriage 1875

Thomas/Nite Marriage 1875

The groom’s card for the marriage lists him as 53 years old (b 1822), a clerk, and born in Scotland.  It was the groom’s second marriage.

Wedding card for James Nite (Knight)

Wedding card for James Nite (Knight)

I’ve also obtained the original church record for this marriage which says James was born in Glasgow, Scotland.  It says that Caroline was born in “Troy, NY”.

Burlington Methodist Church record

Burlington Methodist Church record

I have been able to find no other mention of this James Nite (spelled Knight in most documents) in Burlington.  Neither in the Census records for 1870 or 1880, nor in the City directories for the years around 1875.  I can find neither James nor Caroline in the 1880 Census records.  So far I can find no mentions of him in the newspapers of the time.  There are some entries in the New York City Directory in 1882 and 1884 for a James Knight who was a clerk.  In 1886 his wife Caroline is listed as a “Widow”.  So that James Knight seems to have died about 1885.  We have no way to prove at this point that they are the same James and Caroline who got married in Burlington, however.

I’ll switch gears at this point to talk about the other Caroline Thomas.

One year after Caroline Thomas and James Knight were married, Caroline’s nephew Charles Franklin Thomas married Mary “Polly” Thomas.

Charles Frank Thomas Sr., his son Charles Jr, and wife Mary

Charles Franklin Thomas, his son Charles Jr, and wife Mary “Polly” Thomas c1890.

The documents show the groom’s parents as Charles H Thomas (brother of Caroline Thomas) and Lois Pond.

ThomasThomasMarraige1876

Mary, on her record, is listed as the daughter of Henry Thomas and Caroline Smith.  Mary is listed as 21 years of age (b 1855) and having been born in Burlington, Vermont.

ThomasThomasMarriage1876_hers

Obviously Mary’s mother Caroline Smith was Caroline Thomas after her marriage to Henry Thomas.  So what do we know about Caroline Smith Thomas?

Mary Polly’s death record from 1902 lists her parents as “Henry Thomas” and “Caroline C. Thomas.  Despite her marriage record saying she was born in Burlington, Vermont, Mary’s death record says she was born in Burke, NY on 19 May 1854.  No Henry and Caroline Thomas have been found in Burlington, VT or in Burke, NY in the 1860 census (when Mary Polly would have been about six years old, and presumably living with them).

Mary Thomas Death 1902

Mary Thomas Death 1902

We need to keep in mind that it’s very possible she was estranged from her parents (she is, after all, living alone in the 1870 census at the age of 16, working as a servant), and thus upon her death nobody was around who could give reliable information about who here parents were or where she was born.

In the 1880 census, Charles Franklin Thomas is in the census for Canton, NY with his wife Mary (listed as being from NY with both parents being from NY), and their son Charles F. Thomas Jr.  As stated previously, I can find no mention of Caroline Thomas or her husband James Knight in the 1800 census.

Louisa Adams Pond (b1823), supposed mother of Charles Franklin Thomas, died in Canton, NY on 8 Aug 1896.  She was 73 years old.

LoisPondDeath1896

Death announcement. From “The Palladium”, Malone, New York, Thursday August 20, 1896.

Again… according to family rumors, this is when Caroline Thomas came forward and supposedly told Charles that she was his mother.  Records after this point do list her as his mother on multiple occasions.

In the 1900 Census for Brattleboro, Vermont, Charles Franklin Thomas and his wife Mary “Polly” Thomas are listed as living with a Caroline Thomas.  This Caroline was born in Oct 1832 in New York, and is listed as the widowed “mother” of Charles F. Thomas.  She is listed as the mother of one child total and one living child.  She is also listed as having been married since 1854, which unfortunately is the birth year for both Charles and his wife Mary Polly, so not a distinguishing characteristic.  We don’t know that Caroline Thomas (the aunt) was ever married apart from her 1875 marriage to James Knight, but it’s possible that either she was briefly married, or that she was saying she was married at the time of Charles’s birth for obvious social reasons.

Note that the birthplace of Mary Polly Thomas’s parents are both listed as “unknown”.  If the Caroline living with her is her mother, why would this be the case?  In the 1880 census Mary Polly Thomas said both her parents were born in New York.  Then again, whoever answered the questions from the census-taker could just have not known the answer, whether the person living with them was the aunt or the mother-in-law.

Thomas Census 1900

Thomas Census 1900

Next, on 11 Apr 1902, Mary Polly Thomas dies of cancer of the uterus.  There are a couple of death notices in the newspapers of the time.  The first says she “leaves, beside her husband, one son, Harold (Wilmer) Thomas”.  No mention of a mother still being alive, much less living with them.

MaryThomasObit1902

St. Albans Messenger, St. Albans, Vermont, 17 Apr 1902

The second simply says she used to live in Burlington, that she died in Brattleboro, and that she would be buried in St. Albans.  It also mentions that my 2x great-grandfather Horace Luther Thomas is the brother of her husband Charles Franklin Thomas.

MaryPollyThomasObit1902_2

Burlington Weekly Free Press, Burlington, Vermont, 17 Apr 1902, p3

The next record chronologically is for the death of the above Caroline Thomas on 22 Apr 1902.  She is listed as 67 years old (b 1835), widowed, and having parents Henry [no last name, which might indicate Thomas] and Maria Ransom.

CarolineThomasDeath1902_2

So right away we can see that the father’s name listed is the same as the mother-in-law’s husband (Henry), but the last name of the mother is the same as mother of the aunt (Ransom).  Once again this feels to me like someone living filling out a death record who didn’t have all the right details.

There are several obituaries for this Caroline.  They have contradictory information, which makes things more difficult.  The first obit from the Brattleboro Phoenix (25 Apr 1902) lists her as Caroline C. Knight, “mother of Mrs. C.F. Thomas” (i.e. mother of Mary Polly Thomas).  It says she was born 19 Oct 1831, that she was buried in Burlington, Vermont, and that she had a brother in Burlington in 1902.  Aunt Caroline had living two brothers in 1902, Beriah Ransom Thomas, who was living in St. Albans in 1902, and Joel Wells Thomas, who was living in Burlington in 1902.

CarolineThomasObit1902

Brattleboro VT Phoenix, 25 April 1902

The next obit only adds that she died of cancer.  The death record says an “ulcer of leg”.  I’m sure such ulcers can be cancerous.

CarolineThomasDeath1902

The last obit says that Caroline Thomas was the mother of C.F. Thomas.

CarolineThomasDeath1902

Burlington weekly free press., April 24, 1902, Page 5

So what do we make of this?  Two of the obits list her as Caroline C. Knight, and the Caroline Thomas which married James Knight clearly said that her parents were James Thomas and Sophia Ransom.  The death record also lists her mother as “Maria Ransom”, and the mother of Caroline Thomas (the aunt) was Sophia Ransom.  Several articles and other documents list her as the mother of Charles Franklin Thomas, while a couple list her as his mother-in-law, including one that mistakenly says her maiden name was Knight when that was her married name.

Looking over what we have, I’m not convinced any of these records have anything to do with Mary Polly’s mother.  I feel like most of what we see could plausibly be explained by Caroline Thomas coming out as Charles Franklin Thomas’s mother after the death of his parents, and the other non-aligning facts being due to bereaved people putting the wrong information on forms, or having their words misinterpreted by the press in the local news papers.