Friday, October 04, 2019

it's definitely a rainy spell here, second or third full day of steady rain, and this is october, when the monsoons are supposed to be well over. generally new mexicans never complain about the rain; we feel we've been shorted over the years, maybe, and every little bit helps. but there is a point where things flood. down in the valleys, they don't really have dirt, since they've had so little rain over the years, so things flood pretty quickly; they flooded yesterday or the day before in artesia, dexter, and roswell, and it was looking pretty bad in alamogordo. up here in the mountains, we have grass, trees, things to hold the rain, and what we don't want, the washes just carry down the mountain.

so i was driving up from alamogordo, which is down in the desert, but was flooding, and i was glad to be on the mountain where i knew all the water would just shoot on down below me. a policeman sped by me going up the hill, and sure enough, partway up, an enormous boulder had fallen onto the westbound lane. the boulder was the same size as the lane itself. traffic was slowed down in order to crawl around it. keep driving, nothing to look at here.

deep into the stories of my ancestors in the 1700's, i've reached the point where i want to find some reasonable explanation and settle on it. my book is almost written. i've laid out who the characters are, and, in order to make it work, one just about has to speculate about some kind of irregularity that genealogists just didn't catch over the years. somebody had some child at some point, and the birth records just didn't catch it. it could be, that as we go along toward the revolution, some of them are actually going to england, and people are getting lost, or we are losing track of them. once the revolution starts, it's the "times of suffering" in boston, and who knows about that? it seems it changed things. the city itself took a beating. there were more soldiers than people, for a while there.

back here in new mexico, i'm kind of absorbed in using the web to find out whatever i can. there are two different lines, and they seem to come together, or have common people in them; and, they certainly have common places in them, besides boston itself. one is a farm in needham, which is out there in the western suburbs. another is cornhill, an old neighborhood of boston. i go in, and one place i get tied up is the mid-1800's, where they tend to write flowery prose but miss a few crucial facts. some of these people were simply unknown to them, and they wrote grand-style pronouncements about the ones they knew. they kind of messed it up a little too, for example, calling john the governor a knight. he wasn't, as far as i can tell, a knight.

kids are at school, and the rain keeps coming. there could be floods, even up here on the mountain. we check the news regularly, but, truthfully, i'm more concerned about the impeachment, than about the rain. i kind of take it for granted, that nature is unraveling, the world is falling apart, and there's not much we can do about it except get the president out of there. so hurry up about it, ok, and let's get on, and try to pull this earth thing back together.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

ipswich mary was a certain mary leverett, who lived in ipswich massachusetts in 1713, and married one jonathan moulton, who already had three children. those who tried to figure out where she was born, or from, were unsuccessful; that includes me. but if we accept the general truism that the puritan migration from england to boston had virtually stopped, and that therefore most of the leveretts in the colony were ours, then i suspected that she was one of ours. i in fact had lost track of a mary, in boston, in the late 1680's. i had said she disappeared. i had no clue what happened to her, or even if she was real.

back in the 1680's, hudson leverett's wife had died, and he married another, one who like him didn't join the church, and we lost track of some people. in 1692 he claimed that he had two, thomas and mary; we know that thomas became a barber and eventually had a son, knight. her father mentioned only thomas as if mary was not his grandchild. by that i might infer that mary was by his first wife, and that thomas was by his second. i wouldn't be alone in that inference, nor the first one who wondered. but if there was a mary, as well as a thomas, i had lost her trail. i didn't know where she lived, when she had died, whether she had children.

i told my son about ipswich mary. he was visiting from chicago, and he was impressed. of course, he had seen quite a bit upon arriving; i'd picked him up in el paso, bathed in sun, staring idly at mexico, shiny cars and big traffic. the vast desert between here and there, and then, high green mountain pastures, pines and aspens, golden trees, deer and elk. he went to see our horses; i took him to a waterfall. i also walked with him, back into the canyon, where an old deer skeleton marks a place where canyons come together, a place that has to be an ancient site, and we talked and enjoyed a stunningly beautiful fall day.

so i was telling him about my research into family members. ipswich mary was a special mystery. here's this woman, she finds her way up to ipswich, which is near salem, and, the witch trials were what, 1692, twenty years before she got married. i figure, if she was his second marriage, he was probably her second. people did that back then; if they had been left a single parent by death of a spouse, they found someone in a similar condition, and married. that way, one could be the man, and bring home food, and the other could be the woman, and cook and stay home. it was all very gender-divided, i assume, but it worked, and that was a common pattern. so i looked for her first marriage, but, no luck. and, children, that she could have brought into it. no luck. she's an enigma. and, to top it all off, how did she find her way from boston (if she's ours) up to ipswich? surely not attracted by the witch trials.

at one point, i took my son to the bluff springs waterfall. this is a place of stunning beauty, about 8700 feet in the mountains, like cloudcroft itself, high in the mountains. the water comes down out of a spring in the high mountain, and then careens over a bluff as a waterfall, with fall colors everywhere. it's not a huge falls, with tons of water, but it's a pure one, because the water in it comes right out of the mountain. a steep little climb, and you get to the top, and you are in the high mountains of remote southern new mexico.

back to ipswich. still no idea about this woman. she helped raise jonathan moulton's children. we don't know about her children; one of them could be ours. don't know why she had to leave boston. but an odd thing: a relative, president of harvard, had a daughter mary. and this daughter, in cambridge, associated with this president and all, was to herself marry a captain, a prominent man, and move to ipswich, only later. her husband was Captain Dennison, and she married in maybe 1726, a little later, not sure about the date. in any case her daughter was to marry a saltonstall, and these were wealthy people, who were able to save a number of family papers and such. everntully, i believe, leverett saltonstall came from this family, and quite a bit of fame. you get a lot of hits on that mary; she was mary leverett dennison. mary leverett had actually come before her: come to ipswich before her, and lived in complete obscurity.

my son and i huffed and puffed up the steep trail to the top of the mountain, or near the top, where the stream came trickling out of the mountain itself. my street shoes were slippery in the mud. but i stooped down, and drank some of the water. a ritual, a principle. if it comes out of the mountain, it hasn't been touched by cows, and it's by nature drinkable. that's what i figure. anyway i survived to tell the tale, at least so far. and, it was delicious. fresh mountain stream water, right out of the mountain. we're in the southwest, i told him. most rivers don't even have water. even the rio grande, you can't see water, unless it really rains hard. most of the rivers are dry. you find a stream, or a waterfall, or even a river of some kind, with real water, it's something to celebrate. and i celebrated.

i'm on the trail of ipswich mary. she's an enigma, and i may just not find much more about her. no idea, how she'd get from boston to ipswich, around the time of the witch trials. no other family members around, or any other good reasons, that i've found. the women often didn't write stuff down, and records were simply lost.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019



i am now in mourning...this puppy, though i only knew her for a few days, i spent part of one of them letting her sit in my lap and look into my eyes. she was already very sick - she had parvo, and pneumonia, so, looking back, maybe we shouldn't blame ourselves, and, maybe she didn't really have a chance. she was very small, very young, very precious. it may have been too much for her, moving up to the mountains, in a big rowdy family, maybe it was too cold up here. but, she's gone, and i'll miss her.
more on the puppy - we were about to give up, since she has two fatal diseases, parvo and pneumonia - but this morning the vet said she was doing better. temperature down and taking in some food, probably. this is a good sign and means she might pull out of it. parvo is a virus, and might take a while to go away, so it may be a long haul, but we are hopeful. i changed from mourning to hopeful.

the fact is, you can get attached pretty quickly. she has big eyes, and looks up at you with her full trust. she has a very long tail, which, when she's in puppy mode, well, that's active too. she will not be competition for the other puppies, although the big black lab has had mournful eyes ever since the little white yorkie showed up. i'm not sure if these puppies need to be your only one, or they just need your absolute loyalty. but it seems to me that when a puppy like this little tesla comes and looks you in the eyes, it would be heartless to just turn your back.

fact is, we took her from the pound, accepting every consequence, agreeing to follow through, agreeing to take care of her. now we're wondering if the other puppies are up on their parvo vaccinations, and i know the little white yorkie is, but the other two, maybe not. one got into a skunk the other night. he wondered why we didn't really want to let him into the kitchen this morning. he sat out on the porch and barked. one side of me is like, little too much puppy around here. it's only a tiny house.

in our routine, the four school days are way different from the three weekend days. our kids have grown to be all over ten, and now it's a question of whether they can really entertain themselves, and whether it's possible to feed them acceptably. By acceptably, i mean, they would really rather have something fried and greasy, and there's only so much in our small town of under a thousand, and so, we run down the hill occasionally. down there they stock up: two big macs, milkshake, large fries, whatever is addictive. get your fill. down there it's about twenty degees warmer too. i roll down the window and get some sunburn on my arms.

addiction, addiction. i've come to see the puppy as a product of addiction. the fourteen-year-old has an addiction to impulse buying, an addiction to love, and an addiction to anything that makes him feel like he has something his sisters don't. his mother has an addiction to impulse buying, an addiction to mothering, especially babies, and an addiction to pleasing the fourteen-year-old. in that sense the puppy was perfect for both of them, and gave her all the love she could possibly want and expect, and that she no longer gets regularly, from grandchildren or other tiny ones in her circle. her grandchildren, now, are getting older, four, five, seven, not so many babies these days. i'm about to have a grandson, in november, but that baby, far away, will be a while before it's in my arms. this puppy, i'm hoping, will fill the gap for a year or two.

down at the dance studio this dance teacher says i can hold her baby while she teaches dance, and it will lower the price for my two girls, and be a favor to us both. i took the deal, and held her for one lesson; she fell asleep in my arms. a tiny baby, about one, getting teeth, she would point over to where her mom was teaching with a big question in her eyes, like, can't i just go over there? but maybe she knew she couldn't. she accepted my rocking, and looked out at the world, tenth street alamogordo, outside the 5-7-5 dance studion, and then she gave it up and fell asleep. i'd told her about the early days of my daughter, who looked like her, small, blonde, one or younger, innocent, beautiful, a little feisty, and as i told the story, she seemed to understand. it was a story of a kid who knew that the person carrying her was not the greatest pro, not the perfect diaper changer, but nevertheless, loved her more than you could possibly imagine.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

we got a fourth puppy, a small white girl puppy who one day, if she lives, will be quite large. she is having a rough patch these first few days and may not make it, i hate to say. today she's stopped drinking water and my wife is hoping to have her hospitalized at the vet. It's quite an emergency, i can tell, but i'm helpless to do anything about it. i'm too young for a puppy.

it was my wife's idea to do this for my son, who himself is flailing in this world and needs some direction, an anchor to cling to. his older brother got a puppy at this age, oreo, so oreo is watching on as this little white one struggles for her life. but it would take some time to see if this puppy would "take," meaning that, to a self-centered boy of fourteen, he is too young for a puppy too. he doesn't know what to do, and barely knows how to love it.

escapism to me is googling my ancestors, which in many cases is googling my own name only putting dates near it. this i do almost every chance i get, since i need a lot of escape regularly. today four kids went off to school; they get monday off so that makes a bigger deal out of tuesday, the end of a long three-day weekend. i'm glad to say they are functional; even the fourteen-year-old had taken a shower; the girls had socks and had brushed their hair; everyone had what they needed to take with them. the problem was that oreo got into a skunk last night. he apparently bolted over a broken screen, fell down the steps, and lit into the skunk, which of course let him have it. for skunks, you mix hydrogen peroxide, blue dawn soap, and baking soda, and give him a bath, so we did that last night on the cool porch at about ten. the issue, this morning, was that last time oreo got skunked, some of it got onto towels and hands and clothes, and every kid ended up smelling like skunk in the morning. we have only one car for four kids and a driver, and, if the skunk gets spread around, that's big trouble.

but he was more careful this time, being somewhat of a veteran now, and they were all able to get into the same car.

back on the ancestor front, there is no end of surprises. it's like you compile all this information, and you stare at it for a while, and a lot of it appears to be repeated over and over, but nonetheless possibly not true. some families are nailed down tight, and others are just kind of out there, like ours. there were only so many people in boston, and for a town of about 30,000 one can guess that certain names keep coming back around. so i end up absorbed in these diaries of the early seventeen hundreds, when the colony was still young, and the old puritans, like cotton mather, were beginning to lose their grip. what i find is a lot of shotgun marriages. people marry in december and have their first child in january. and i'm wondering, isn't there some social embarrassment here? they clearly aren't willing to simply have the baby, and forget the marriage. you would think that would be one of the options, and that would make our task more difficult, but apparently that isn't one of the options.

back to the puppy. i can't help thinking about her. the kennel cough just kind of took over her tiny body, and she's like one big cough. she couldn't take this mountain fall cool weather, and, she was too little, the cough took over. it's an open question whether modern medicine will take, and bring her back. i'm praying hard for her to come back to puppiness, and be the playful little thing she was when we got her.

Monday, September 16, 2019

ok so this crinkly pape (see below) has turned my world upside down. it is in my great-great-great grandfather's hand; it implies that our line goes up through two johns, and knight the goldsmith, and thomas the barber. i am stuck at a certain point in about 1720 though my real problem is later, about 1760 or so. i'll explain.

there were two brothers, thomas and john. now i'm thomas john, and i was named after thomas and john, first two leveretts in the colonies, but these two were brothers, sons of knight. john was born in 1727, thomas in 1730. both went after money as knight had been poor, and both did very well, staying right there in boston. john dabbled in printing but went more into importing goods from london, and opened a big warehouse on the town dock. thomas stuck with printing. when i tried to find out what he'd printed, lo and behold, i came up with thomas dilworth's grammar of the english language - the very book i'd love to write!

back in those days, a grammar was held and learned by every schoolboy. dilworth's picture had mustaches drawn on it by mischievous boys in abraham lincoln's generation as they learned grammar. in any case, this book was made for thomas leverett.

but more mysteries abound. thomas married a mysterious woman named hannah gray whom i cannot find. one possibility is that she was the daughter of edward gray, neice of harrison gray, treasurer of the colony. she had several children, including a harrison, john w, and benjamin, but then disappeared. perhaps she died with no record, or went back to england, right around the occupation of boston by english troops in 1768.

her uncle, if he was her uncle, was treasurer of the colony, but a loyalist, so he got all his stuff taken and fled for his life back to london, around 1776.

her half-brother, if i'm not mistaken, was another printer, who printed a pamphlet about a currency problem and got in trouble for it. in other words, he pushed the envelope of free speech.

she was the grandmother of c e leverett, who did extensive research on the family, yet still could only say that he suspected she was the daughter of edward gray, neice of harrison gray. the clues are fascinating.

i am related through john, thomas' brother. but john w may yet appear in my story. he appears to be a brother of young benjamin, and harrison, and young hannah, before hannah gray died or disappeared when the british occupied. but what happened was this: col. john, thomas' brother, lost everything when the british sacked his warehouse, and moved to connecticut, with his son john and family. in boston, after hannah died, thomas remarried, and young john w and benjamin were given over to the care of young thomas, the surgeon, older brother of the group. that thomas was to serve in the war and die after a twenty-month imprisonment at the hands of the british. young john w disappeared but may come back to our story. hannah, the sister (not the mother who disappeared) went to connecticut and married the son of col. john, young john. married her own cousin.

thomas the bookseller died right after the war. martha his second wife held a wake and divided up his property in medford; she served spirits and they drank one to the family. if i'm related i guess it would be through john w, who i haven't quite figured out yet, but just knowing about this namesake of mine has me kind of glued to the google, googling my own name. thomas leverett bookseller. thomas leverett thomas dilworth. thomas leverett hannah gray. that kind of stuff. i suspect hannah gray slipped back to england to avoid the same fate her uncle suffered, but i haven't got that far. and her husband, left behind with six or seven children, had no choice but to remarry.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

digging through old genealogy, i encountered this paper, written by my great great great grandfather, joseph leverett, claiming that his line of descent went up through two williams and two johns, through knight the goldsmith and thomas the barber, up through hudson and john the governor of the colony of massachusetts. this was different from a genealogy that my relatives had put together, which claimed basically that it went up through three williams to hudson, skipping the two johns, knight and thomas. so, interested, i begun digging into these colonial leveretts. frankly, the connection from the williams to the johns is implausible because of time; the second john apparently went to harvard at the age of about sixteen, in 1774; while joseph was born in 1804. thirty years is hardly enough for two williams to appear with no record of them. but then, the line up through the williams was a little hazy too; it had this william who simply appeared around the beginning of the 1700's, with no explanation.

so i've been working my way up through thomas the barber and knight the goldsmith to see what i could find. knight, as it turns out, married a prominent bookseller in town. his two sons, col. john and thomas, both dabbled in the book business, thomas more so. lo and behold, they sent away, together, for twenty reams of paper, to benjamin franklin, and the shipment was lost. benjamin's correspondence, however, was not lost. he says his wife sent it, she's sure of it, and sorry, but he'll send more. i laughed and kept it on my desktop.

but it's surprising to me, several things. one, that, as brothers, they are working together as merchants. john it seems gets more into british imports as that's where the money is. thomas sticks with books and stationery as that's big, and he does pretty well too. john marries a woman from windsor vermont and eventually the whole family ends up up there; thomas marries a woman named hannah gray.

they go right on through the 1740's and 1750's like this; the great awakening is happening around them but col. john and thomas are into making money and putting out books when necessary, thomas more so than john. col. john has a son john in 1858 and thomas has a son thomas the same year; the cousins are the same age and eventually go to harvard together.both have a number of other siblings; both live in boston or the area, as far as i can tell. col. john's warehouse is on the south side of the town dock, near where fanueil hall is now. thomas' bookstore is in cornhill, where most of them are; this the best i can figure is government station today. i went up that road one time and saw an old cemetery where the old pilgrims were buried, but today, of course,it's all a bustling city. but i am surprised that i knew so well sbout thomas and john, the original puritans, who had come in the 1600's, and knew nothing about these two colonists, nothing. i had avoided the windsor family because, frankly, i knew that a cousin had married a cousin, and i didn't want any part of it.

so, to get back to the story, john is the oldest of john's children, but he's about ten in 1768. thomas also is the oldest of thomas' children, and has a younger sister hannah, and around 1765, not sure, an even younger one named john w, and a few more. things heat up between bostonians and the british. it's a bad time to be selling british goods. the british occupy boston in 1768, and col. john's warehouse is sacked; he loses everything. he and the family bail on boston and move to middletown, connecticut, where the family owns some land. now young john, who at ten is the oldest in his family, makes some friends in connecticut, but is separated from his cousin thomas.

back in boston, hannah gray, who allegedly is the neice of harrison gray, dies or disappears. harrison gray was a wealthy treasurer of the colony, but was accused of being a loyaslist, and lost everything due to mob violence. now i have to say things get murky here; i'm not really sure she's the neice of harrison gray, as one genealogist has claimed, or if it's the same harrison gray, or whatever. but she names one of her children harrison; he's the one that's older than john w.

from about 1773 to 1776 the boys, thomas and john, are in harvard, and that's a big deal in the family. john is into law, and thomas wants to be a doctor, but they do things together, and hang around together. it is possible that john has a child at this time; he's perhaps fifteen in 1773; but, he doesn't get married, so i discount that theory. they seem to be like any other harvard students, except that there's a war going on. in their senior year, harvard moves to concord so george washington can have the cambridge campus. and george, and his soldiers, mess it up a little.

in 1778 the elder thomas the bookseller dies, and his second wife martha has a wake for him in medford, where she provides spirits and rum. young john w is still a minor and is not hers; they assign him and his younger brother benjamin to their older brother thomas, who is now a surgeon, but who is about to go off to war and be a surgeon in the war. young john also serves but as a doctor's mate, and has one foot in connecticut, where he eventually marries a woman in 1790. i suspect that john w and benjamin end up with their sister hannah, at least for the time being, in boston, for the duration of the war. col. john has also died, leaving young john with whatever house they had in middletown connecticut.

and eventually, hannah goes to connecticut, and marries john. by this time, john w is old enough to be on his own, and he disappear. it's possible that he goes down south; there are people in georgia who claim him as an ancestor (d doubt this). it's possible that he goes to a family farm, out in needham, west of the city. it's possible that he goes back to england. there is one john leverett on a ship to england in the middle of the war; the british impound this ship, take it to newfoundland, and from there to london where some of its passengers never come back. this could be john w or his first cousin once removed, john, but in any case, john w gets lost.

young john and hannah don't get lost; they have three children, one of whom ends up as secretary of state of the state of vermont. since john's mother was from vermont, and she ended up alone in connecticut at her husband, col. john's death, i suspect that she was behind the move, although some reports say that she died in connecticut. in any case much of young john's family, and their families, end up in windsor vermont.

as for young thomas, the surgeon, he is captured by the british, spends twenty months in a hell-hole prisoner-of-war camp, and comes home to die a single man of 26, allegedly of ailments suffered from his capture.

the problem for me as a genealogist is that there is no way to justify joseph's writing that claims there were two williams, then two johns, with one going to harvard in 1776. there was this john who went to harvard in 1776, and, he had a william, up there in connecticut or somewhere, but that wasn't until 1793 or something and that kid ended up in new hampshire or somewhere, with only daughters. the williams that were joseph's father and grandfather were all at the family farm in needham, though joseph claimed that his grandfather was born in boston. and he was a farmer.

if he was born in boston but he's a farmer, that says to me, john w. the kid is alone, he goes out to needham, he farms; perhaps he is our william. when young joseph considers his ancestors and what he knows about them, he has two williams and then the two johns, who were like family, even if john w's birth father was thomas. john, in the care of hannah, considers john and col. john as family, and tells everyone so. the story of john going to harvard is well known, because he's a man about town, a scholar, an interesting character. the two thomases have disappeared in the dustbin of history, although one of them, the bookseller, would be his biological father.

for me, a thomas and a john, it's lurid fascination to run across these namesakes running around boston at the time of the revolution. i say, quick before books go out of style, find some and see what kind of stuff they were printing and selling. it seems clear that they were on the side of the revolutionaries, unlike hannah gray's uncle, or the first leverett saltonstall, who even went so far as to join cornwallis' british regiment. everyone had to take one side or the other, i suppose, and i'll get to the bottom of it sooner or later.

all i can say is, it's a lot of intrigue. while i used to consider my biggest problem down around the witch trials, when someone had an illegitimate william and had to let him grow up out in the boondocks of muddy river, which is now brookline, now, i figure the mystery is this john w, and where he ended up. from 1765, his birth, he could very easily have had a child at sixteen, who then would be about sixteen when he married lydia fuller of needham. on that side, i would be looking for a william who was born about 1785, to be joseph's father, but then i would have to call john w the grandfather (w = william), and say, he was born in boston, he was a farmer, he considered john and col.john, if nothing else, as his stepfamily. so far, that's the only way i can make it work.

it's a grim fascination with ancestors i didn't even know existed, until i started this. not that anyone cares, i guess. but i've always used this blog as a way to keep my writing going; somehow, my goal is to spin this all into an interesting, historically based, true story of people living through the revolution. boston was, after all, in the heart of it.

Monday, September 02, 2019

so i didn't want to get into the vermont leveretts; there were quite a few of them, but it was pretty clear they aren't ours, or at least i thought so, and, there was a guy who married his own cousin. so i pretty much ignored any leverett who was from vermont, even though they shared a lot of names: thomas, john, william, that kind. the kind i'm all over.

but then i find this piece of paper, with beautiful handwriting, and it appears to be written by joseph. now joseph was the pioneer; walked to his aunt's place in maine, at the age of seven, from the highway where he'd gotten a ride up from brookline; grew up to sturdy manhood cutting timbers and figuring out how to get them 80 miles down to portland without breaking them. moved to illinois in 1834. but, he was quiet. his son did all the writing, and most of what we know is from his son.

but this envelope seems to claim that his grandfather is not a william, as we'd suspected, but a john, and not only a john, but one who went to harvard and graduated in 1776.

now his father william was born in 1773 and died of delirium tremens at the age of 33 or something, so lots of information is lost there. and the son was sent to maine at the age of seven, so whatever was known when he was sent, probably didn't get written down. but the piece of paper i saw was clear and in beautiful handwriting. it said that his grandfather was john, not william. two johns, and, before that, up through knight leverett the metallurgist, and thomas the barber. sure enough, related to john the governor, but not john the president of harvard.

so i'm off to find these two johns, and see if maybe we got on the wrong track somewhere. it was a william, who came out of nowhere, who got rachel watts, daughter of the deacon, pregnant in chelsea and took her off to needham to raise children. and he joined up in henry jackson's regiment in the revolution. there was a william leverett out there in 1776.

but meanwhile, at harvard, is this john guy, who supposedly is our ancestor. he went on to yale, according to the records, so he was quite educated. seems to me a guy like that is more likely to run into the deacon's daughter.

but william met the deacon's daughter back in 1759, and they had the first of their children then. there's a time gap. although william the father of our joseph was born in 1773, right up against the revolution, and in needham to boot, where he could meet lydia, well, i don't see how this john guy could fit in there. unless there were two william (1773) dudes. and they would both pretty much have to be in needham, or near enough to it.

not sure where to go from here. interesting times!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

so, upon publishing puritan leveretts, i got started on the next phase, which i tentatively call pioneer leveretts, although in fact i'm finding they aren't quite all pioneers, and i can't always even figure out who they were, half the time. so i've got my head in old genealogy, trying to figure out who's who, and i'm totally absorbed in this stuff, and all kinds of things are happening in the fam. and then, there's another big shooting, and also, a menacing hurricane off the coast of florida.

so these old leveretts, one appears out of nowhere, and then the deacon's daughter is pregnant, and he whisks her off to needham (from chelsea) and they start having babies. but he goes off and fights in the revolution, which nobody ever knew before. that's because he was in a late-formed regiment, or something. but he was in the battle of monmouth, and the battle of rhode island too. so he got around.

but needham? turns out that was the address for natick, and natick was the biggest of the praying towns. now those towns were decimated, ruined, destroyed, in philip's war. but needham was a nothing connected to a nothing left. makes me wonder if he didn't maybe know somebody in that praying town, or have a reason to go back there. he's raising his kids there in needham, or at least they call it needham, before they call it natick. but it could have been natick too.

big old mass killing, and that's what happens these days, you just reach out, grab some military hardware, and let them have it. everyone. made us nervous, because we're just up the road, though we're in another state. lots of our tourists are from midland-odessa. texans all over the place.

but back to this revolution guy. he had a son, and that son fell in with the baptists. well, maybe his wife lydia wasn't a baptist, but her sister sarah had definitely married one, or at least his mother was one, and they were setting out to convert everyone, because maybe it was the great awakening or something. he had a couple of twins by lydia and then a girl, and then joseph, and we're talking 1803 here, and then a couple more twins, warren and washington.

but this leverett dies, maybe he can't handle the conversions going on. turns out his oldest son will become a baptist minister. so will his brother-in-law's brother, and eventually that brother will convert warren and washington, and there will be baptists all over the place. but in the meantime, lydia is having trouble. she has five kids, and her husband has died. she agrees to send young joseph, who is now seven, to maine.

what i've read says he goes to live with aunt walker, who would be her father's sister. but it also says aunt walker is his mother's side aunt, so there's a missing connection there. the way i find all these baptists, is by looking for an aunt walker on his mother lydia's side. on lydia's side all i find is sarah fullur, and joseph griggs, and the baptists, joseph's mother, and joseph's brother. it does appear that these griggs might have gone up to maine. and it's also possible that they, or at least some of them, ended up in illinois.

so there are two epic trips. one is in 1810, or thereabouts, when joseph is seven, and he gets a ride up to maine but has to walk the last few miles to the aunt's house, alone. and he does. and he grows up in maine, does some service and gets married. second epic trip: he takes a wagon, and goes 1600 miles, and ends up in quincy illinois, where apparently some of these relatives have come, from maine, to start all over. now in quincy, they land in 1863, and the mormons arrive in 1869, and get booted out of nauvoo in 1876, or some such thing, but my ancestors are farmers. they are inland from the river about twenty miles, and they are building a house, and a school, and growing stuff, and not paying much attention to the mormons. that's the pioneers i like.

well it turns out that maybe sarah and joseph griggs went out there too, and samuel for sure, he was a baptist minister by now. and samuel, by the way, joseph's brother, was up in vermont, being a baptist, when lydia sent the young twins, warren and washington, up to vermont at about the age of 14. they went on to academic success and ended up in southern illinois too, in alton, in shurtlieff college. so out in southern illinois you have warren, washington, joseph leverett and family, and possibly some of these griggs, like joseph and sarah, and possibly james a. walker and katharine leverett walker as well, his aunt walker. and some of these, i'm thinking the walkers, might have come along on the epic 1600-mile trip.

hurricane, by the way, just stalling out there in bermuda, or the bahamas, or wherever, fixin' to hit florida or whatever. and, killers, shooting up west texas.

so, anyway, all that is yet to come. back in brookline, or roxbury, poor lydia had a couple more kids, these being griggs, because she did as her sister did, marry a griggs, after old man leverett was gone. and of the five leveretts she had, the oldest, william, became reverend william of brookline, a baptist minister. sarah, i'm not sure, but joseph, he was the pioneer, and then there was warren and wahington and the two griggs. so she had her hands full, and never quite left boston. she ended up dying in her oldest son's place.

the great awakening really messed with our family, i guess. it seems that one thing that happened was everyone started talking about how great everyone was, when in fact, they were kind of living in squalor, which became obvious when the civil war became documented. by the time of the civil war, all these ancestors were out in illinois, or even further, and the war looked different out there than it does back in brookline. but i'm marching slowly, surely, through american history, and it looks like i'm leaving the boston area, finally, and going out to the prairie where i'm more comfortable.

the thing is, these little towns around boston didn't keep very good records. and althogh there was tons about those early puritans, now that i'm in the dark corners of the 1700's, i've got two problems: much less on the web, and, small towns. needham, woburn, chelsea, medford, some of these weren't even towns as we know them today. and these guys were slipping in and out of them like, well, if they said they were from woburn, what did anyone know? they were kind of like from all of them, or any of them, it didn't matter. now boston kept track. you get born in boston, someone will know. but these other towns, maybe not. and maine? well, maine's doing the best it can, i can tell you that.

hurricane brewing, a cool night in the rainy season out on the porch; it rained earlier. i gave my wife a head start, trying to get to sleep. hopefully we'll all sleep a bit. anything can happen tomorrow, anything.

Friday, August 30, 2019

ii finally finished, published a book, "puritan leveretts," about some of my ancestors, and immediately upon finishing delved into the next few, which i intended to call "pioneer leveretts." this would be based upon two stories which i will relate. but the stories involved immediately became more complicated upon doing just a little research.

first, there is much less on the web about the early seventeen hundreds, when the story starts. you have these three williams to keep track of - one, parentage unknown, two, walks into chelsea mass, marries the deacon's daughter, and flees to needham, three, the guy dies when his son joseph is six. joseph is our ancestor for sure. joseph is the pioneer, goes from maine to illinois in a stage, farms in illinois.

but to go back to these williams - no record of williams, in any of the towns around boston, and questions abound. the second one married a rachel watts, and down in georgia, some william leverett was doing the same thing, so scant information was getting crossed and repeated through the lines, and some of their kids might be georgian kids, for all i know. two williams, two rachel watts wives, two revolutionary war service records, two sets of kids. one site actually listed poor rachel as being born in mass. but dying in georgia. i don't think so. but stranger things have happened in this world.

but then, wondering why our william would want to whisk his new wife, rachel, off to needham, which was a village to the west of boston, i encountered more surprises. needham included natick, and natick was one of the first praying towns. that is, there were a lot of native americans there, many of whom had converted, and mixed with whites, and were living in the western part of what was then needham, but is now natick. it's possible that this guy had people out there. he seems to be somewhat of a mystery, this william and his father, because his father appears out of nowhere. and the things they say about him, "from woburn," or whatever, could be "from anywhere," since there's no record.

some people have pointed out that there could have been several leverett families in massachusetts in the late 1600's early 1700's. yes indeed. i'm not bound to the assumption that they all came from the same one. when young joseph wrote his memoirs, which are around somewhere, and which i still haven't turned up, he said, it's family story that we're related to the governor, but not the president of harvard. i take this to heart, and take his word.

these pioneers had it tough, although it could just be the rose-colored glasses i look through. young joseph, who cut timbers in the woods near the androscoggin river in maine, what is now livermore falls, hauled these timbers down to portland for use as ship masts in a burgeoning ship industry. he was allegedly being raised by his aunt walker, but there is no sign of aunt walker either in maine or in illinois where they all ended up. of course looking for a walker in the early 1800's is like looking for a needle in a needle haystack, and i could be missing all kinds of things here. they all went out to illinois, in a stage, and started farming the rich soil around quincy, and this was really the beginning of my family, since i can't really pin down these williams, and have no idea if those puritans, thomas, john the governor, hudson, and john the president (not my ancestor) were even real ancestors. the link is broken in the late 1600's/early 1700's with our william, and the witch trials were right around then, and the link between hudson, if joseph is right, and this shadowy william, well, who knows. could be that praying town, i'm kind of figuring.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

sandcastle

i was at a small beach in colorado with my grandkids, trying to teach them about sandcastles. they were busy and not particularly interested. in my mind, the lesson about sandcastles is one of the most important in life. it goes like this: the lake waves come, and wash it away, sooner or later, and there isn’t much you can do about it.

of course, i always make my sandcastles pretty close to the edge of the lake. the waves are constant there, and some are bigger than others, so those actually do some damage. to me it’s a testament of my being there, that the moat gets bigger or smaller, the turrets get protected or moved out of the way, the water has someplace to go. it becomes a symbol of my constant desire to make the world better, to change it, to shift it around, to make a mark on it. i try to show them as they walk by. they by and large think i’m a silly old guy.

my grandson, the youngest, is only two. he has found some people who have actual toys, like a shovel and a pail, and they of course don’t mind his using them. this makes him very busy, since he can try to see what it’s like to take whole shovelfuls of sand and put them in the pail, and then tip them out. he doesn’t offer to apply his new methods to my sandcastle, since to him what’s important is the kind of change he himself can cause to the beach. he has his own little territory where there are some cattails nearby and some green swampy wetland plants and flowers – it’s a little shadier over there.

my granddaughter however is much more social. she’s about nine, and to her it’s all about other nine year olds, and what they like and how they view the world. she doesn’t care so much about the sand and what you can make with it, but she really cares about the people and what they know how to do. for example: can you swim? can you splash? how do you splash so you can splash the most water? she’s become fast friends within minutes with another girl who is about her age.

to the parents, my daughter and her husband, it’s a small break. if the kids are outside, and busy, and playing, that’s good, and if they are ignoring grandpa, that’s not a problem, since grandpa is at least happy nd enjoying their presence. the sandcastles are irrelevant. they come and go anyway. the sunburn, that’ll hang around, but only if you’re not on top of the sunscreen.