Monday, June 3, 2019

WOODWORTHs - New England "Planters" in Nova Scotia

I believe my husband Bob’s 6x great grandfather Silas Woodworth was one of six Woodworth “Planters.” Thus beginning the Woodworth’s in Nova Scotia.

The migration of the New England Planters was the first significant migration to the Atlantic colonies in British North America. In the wake of the deportation of the Acadians in 1755, newly cultivated lands opened up in Nova Scotia, which needed to be populated. Roughly eight thousand men and women from New England came to settle in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, and in the Upper St. John River Valley of present-day New Brunswick, between 1759 and 1768. They left a legacy that can be found in the social, religious, and political life of Atlantic Canada.
The first move towards settling the newly vacated lands after the Acadian Deportation was made via the Proclamation by General Charles Lawrence to the Boston Gazette on 12 October 1758, inviting settlers in New England to immigrate to Nova Scotia. The agriculturally fertile land in Nova Scotia would be a driving force in enticing the emigrants, but the New England colonists were wary. Lawrence sent a second Proclamation on 11 January, 1759 stating that in addition to land, Protestants would be given religious freedom, and a system of government similar to that in New England would be in place in the Nova Scotia settlements. 
According to an article on the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 website [] by the Western University’s MA Public History Program Students - The Forgotten Immigrants: The Journey of the New England Planters to Nova Scotia, 1759-1768
Red flag shows the area of King’s County, Nova Scotia which sits on the shores of the Bay of Fundy.
In the autumn of 1758, therefore, under instructions from England, the Council adopted a proclamation relative to settling the vacant lands. The proclamation stated that by the destruction of French power in Cape Breton and Nova Scotia, the enemy who had formerly disturbed and harassed the province and obstructed its progress had been obliged to retire to Canada, and that thus a favorable opportunity was presented for "peopling and cultivating as well the lands vacated by the French as every other part of this valuable province". The lands are described as consisting of "upwards of one hundred thousand acres of interval and plow lands, producing wheat, rye, barley, oats, hemp, flax, etc." "These have been cultivated for more than a hundred years past, and never fail of crops, nor need manuring. Also, more than one hundred thousand acres of upland, cleared, and stocked with English grass, planted with orchards, gardens, etc. These lands with good husbandry produce often two loads of hay per acre. The wild and unimproved lands adjoining to the above are well timbered and wooded with beech, black birch, ash, oak, pine, fir, etc. All these lands are so intermixed that every single farmer may have a proportionate quantity of plow land, grass land, and wood land; and all are situated about the Bay of Fundi, upon rivers navigable for ships of burthen".

….That a hundred acres of wild wood land would be given each head of a family, and fifty acres additional for each person in his family, young or old, male or female, black or white, subject to a quit-rent of one shilling per fifty acres, the rent to begin, however, not until ten years after the issuing of the grant. The grantees must cultivate or inclose one third of the land in ten years, one third more in twenty years, and the remainder in thirty years. No quantity above a thousand acres, however, would be granted to any one person. On fulfillment of the terms of a first grant the party receiving it should be entitled to another on similar conditions.
From: The History of Kings County, Nova Scotia, Heart of the Acadian Land, Giving a Sketch of the French and Their Expulsion, And a History of the New England Planters who Came in Their Stead, with Many Genealogies, 1604-1910 – Arthur Wentworth Hamilton Eaton

I started out looking at Bob’s g-g-grandparents Robert Weir and Martha Louise (WOODWORTH) RAYNE. I don’t know why I became interested in my husband’s ancestors, I have plenty of my own to look at. I like learning about historical events and as it turns out I got unexpected early New England/Nova Scotia history as well as family history along the way. So why not look a little further? 

Robert Weir was born in Nova Scotia as was Martha Louise. I decided to look up the RAYNE family on and to see what more information I could find. I didn’t come away with much more than the usual which I also had, so I switched to finding more about the WOODWORTHs. And with that, the story started to interest me. Granted there is more to this research, but I would have to go up to Nova Scotia or out to Boston to research at the New England Historical Genealogical Society’s research center. So for now, I am relying on just the findings on the internet since travel is out of the question at this time. [image came from Bob’s family book]

Martha immigrated to Boston, sailing on the SS Acadia; arrival date 29 Apr 1854; she was 19. Her occupation was “Servant.” 

The Raynes were married in Roxbury, Massachusetts, 9 Apr 1856, two years after Martha arrived in U.S.A. By 1860, Martha and her family lived in Freeport, Illinois next door to her father John B., mother Martha, brother [Robert] Knox, and sister Florance. All born in Nova Scotia. Both Rayne children were born in Illinois – Bessy 3, Lula 10 months. The Raynes most likely moved to Illinois sometime in 1857 or shortly after they married.

The Woodworths we find in Freeport, Illinois, two years after John immigrated. I don’t know exactly when the rest of the family came to U.S. presumably shortly afterward. You can see below the red X is the Rayne family and red arrow is Woodworth family.


This image of John Woodworth came from Bob’s picture book. It has his birth year as 1796, but I have seen him in other documents as being born in 1797 or 1798. Yet, the 1858 ship manifest has him at 62 years, and the 1860 passenger list has him at 62. The 1860 US census has him at 63 years old. Does it really matter?

He was married three times: 1. Eunice Amelia Calkin / one child; 2. Martha Knox / three children; 3. Louise Lugrin / two children. John died in Freeport, Illinois 1869, Martha died November 1860. She could have been very ill which would make him come back home in August 1860.

I would love to know what type of “merchant” he was. What was he selling? His son-in-law, at one time, was a coffee salesman. Could that be what John was into? 

The John B. Woodworth family is found on the 1851 Nova Scotia census. There are no names other than head of household: four males and one female under age of 10. I can only identify one male [Robert] Knox and one female Florance [sic]. There is a mark for one female from 10-20 years of age. I have no name for her. There is one male and one female age 20-30. No name for the male, Martha Louise is the female. There is one male and one female age 30-40. No name for male, female could be John’s wife, but the next slot has one male (John?) and one female (John’s wife?). I can’t read the last column where John should be. (Identity is based on the individual ages I found on the 1860 Freeport, Illinois Census / above.)

While doing a little more research on John, I found online, a reference book “North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000” which contained the family genealogy of the Woodworths going back to Colonial America, in particular Scituate, Massachusetts; Little Compton, Rhode Island; and Lebanon, Connecticut. A lot of the information hasn’t been proven; I am using it as a guide. Much of the information coincides with my independent research and what Bob’s father had done years ago.

The early Woodworth family was in Massachusetts around 1630-34. His earliest ancestor to arrive in the colonies is Bob’s 10x great grandfather Walter who was possibly from Kent, England. He would have been about 20 years old. Walter died about 1685 in Scituate, Massachusetts. The reason he is suspected to come from Kent is because he lived in the area in Scituate where no one but Kent families lived.

As the colonial lineage goes:
Bob’s 9x great grandfather Walter, b. about 1645 Scituate
            8x great grandfather Benjamin, b. Aug 1674 Scituate and died 1729 Lebanon, Connecticut
                7x great grandfather Ichabod, b. Mar 1691 Little Compton, Rhode Island, and died 1768 Lebanon, Connecticut
                    6x great grandfather Silas, b. Mar 1725 Lebanon, Connecticut, and died 1790 Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, Canada
In 1760, Silas moved up to Cornwallis, Kings Co., Nova Scotia aboard the ship Wolfe, with his wife Sarah (English) and three sons one of which was Bob’s 5x great grandfather Solomon. Their daughter was supposedly born at sea. This is where the story became interesting to me. If you remember in 1758 King’s Co., Nova Scotia, was opened up to settling and many New England residents migrated mainly from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Four more Woodworth grantees moved up there to be with Silas:

….The Woodworth grantees in Cornwallis were Amasa, Benjamin, Silas, Thomas, and William Woodworth….
From: The History of Kings County, Nova Scotia, Heart of the Acadian Land, Giving a Sketch of the French and Their Expulsion, And a History of the New England Planters who Came in Their Stead, with Many Genealogies, 1604-1910 – Arthur Wentworth Hamilton Eaton

Circled in red is King’s County, Nova Scotia. Found on
Solomon’s son Daniel is Bob’s 4x great grandfather. Daniel and wife Debrah Freeman (West) died in Canada possibly Ontario. Daniel’s son John Burton is Bob’s 3x great grandfather. He was born in Cornwallis 1798 and died in Freeport, Illinois, around 1869 at age 71. He lived in Nova Scotia until about 1858 when, I believe, he decided to immigrate to the United States. The earliest passenger manifest I found could be that one. He sailed on Steamer Eastern State of Yarmouth bound from the port of Yarmouth & Halifax for Boston…arrived 25 Jun 1858 / “County of which they intend to become inhabitants" - USA. 

J. B. Woodworth, 62, Merchant, (living in United States) Sailed out of Digby, Nova Scotia; Arrival Date 16 Aug 1860, Boston, Massachusetts on ship George E Prescott. This must have been a quick trip because the 1860 census in Freeport, Illinois was taken on the 19th of July. Could this be our John B. Woodworth? Hmmm...

Ancestry.comMassachusetts, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2006.

I’m sure there is more to this story, but I have exhausted what I can do right now. If anyone would care to share more, please contact me through my regular e-mail in my profile. Please put “Woodworth research” in the subject field.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Truesdell Bridge Disaster: Bessie Louise Rayne Victim

The Evansville Journal, Indiana, May 6, 1873
“DIXON, May 5. – Yesterday afternoon, about 1:15 o’clock, as the Rev. Mr. Pratt was passing a convert for baptism into the water of Rock River, just below the bridge, on the north side, there being a large crowd of men, women, and children witnessing the ceremony from the bridge, the iron-work gave way, and without a moment’s warning fifty or sixty souls were launched into eternity."
Of the 44 victims identified was my husband Bob's great great aunt Bessie Louise RAYNE who drowned at age 15. Bessie was the daughter of Robert Weir and Martha Louise [Woodworth] RAYNE. The family was living in Freeport, Stephenson Co., Illinois on the 1860 Census where Bessie is listed as 2 years old which in 1873 she would have been 15.

from Bob's family album. I am currently trying to secure
an image of her as a teen...if it exists at all.
from of the Dixon Truesdell Bridge before disaster.
You can see the spectators looking at batism being preformed below.
from a postcard found online

from Dixon Truesdell Bridge after collapse.
You can get more information on this disaster at Wikipedia or just "google" it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Last Payment Plus Was Accepted by Reuben Whaples

Articles of Agreement for Warranty Deed was entered into 17 March 1857 between Reuben Whaples “of the first part” and Henry Mohle “of the second part.”  [Note: Mr. Mohle signs his given name Henri instead of Henry.]
This parcel of land was in what is now Oak Park, Illinois. Lot 12 in Block 1 in Whaples Subdivision of land in the south west part of the north west quarter of section 7 Town 39 North Range 13 East in Cook County: State of Illinois. Bob’s great great grandfather Rueben was a wheeler-dealer in land in the area and we have found numerous deeds and insurance policies for purchases and sales.
This particular deal with Mr. Mohle seems to have created a situation where Mr. Mohle couldn’t pay the full amount of $66 plus interest by the end of the year 1857. Amongst all the papers was a note for last payment. I think it is interesting how Reuben accepted that payment.

Received sixty Dollars on the within contract it being apart of the seckond [sic] payment I’ve agree to take shoes and Boots for the remainder Due on said payment  October 26th 1857   Reuben Whaples

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

When you come to a fork in the road, take it...

This is an old saying that most of us now-a-days attribute to Yogi Berra the great baseball player, but according to the website Quote Investigator it wasn't.*

Well, whoever it was who said it first gives new meaning when I come across a "fork" in the road. I have several examples where I came across a fork in the road and I "took it" i.e. took a picture of it.

I "took" this fork in the road in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I "took" this fork in the road in a Regensburg, Germany.

I "took" this fork in the road in York, Yorkshire, England.

I "took" this fork in the road in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I "took" this fork in the road back home in Oak Park, Illinois.
I will continue to collect these images as I think they are just fun.

*The earliest evidence of this expression located by Quote Investigator appeared in 1913. The statement was employed as part of a joke exploiting two common meanings of the word ‘fork’.

By 1988 the quotation was being ascribed to Yogi Berra. By 1998 Berra had embraced the saying. In 2009 a biography presented an entertaining explanation.

  1. 1998, The Yogi Book: I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said! by Yogi Berra, Page 48, Workman Publishing, New York. (Verified on paper) 
  2. 1913 July 31, Fort Gibson New Era, Wise Directions (Filler item), Quote Page 2, Column 6, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma. (NewspaperArchive) 
  3. 1913 July 31, Correctionville News, Wise Directions (Filler item), Quote Page 7, Column 6, Correctionville, Iowa. (NewspaperArchive)

    Monday, February 4, 2019

    One Icy Day in 1965 Mundelein, Illinois

    I love living in it is high in the 50s. A week ago we were bracing for sub-zero temperatures. Today it is 70 degrees warmer than last week! Tomorrow we will be back to winter... 31 degrees predicted then on Wednesday we can expect early spring with almost 40 degrees with rain and some ice as it cools down. By Friday we should be back to winter again, but not before we experience somewhat of an ice storm.

    Seeing the possibility of ice reminds me of a horrible storm in 1965. I was living in Mundelein in my parent's home with my first husband. No one was expecting it to be very bad. We didn't have the advanced notices like we do today. We were without electricity for a while. I don't remember a lot of the particulars except trying to stay warm.

    When we walked outside the ice crackled under foot with every step. Our cars were covered with a thin coating of ice. We had to take hot water to the door locks to get them open. Our doggies were slipping and sliding while walking outside to do their business. Nothing was spared.

    Maple Street just west of Rt. 45 in Mundelein, Illinois

    The back of my parents' home on Maple St. Everything looks do dreary.
    Thanks to my brother John for finding and sending me these pictures.

    Wednesday, January 30, 2019

    When You Are Little Everything Is Big: Donuts

    Grandma's breadboard is still fairly large as I remember it from my childhood. Grandma got married in 1895 so I would think this board is from that era. I've had it for over 50 years and it gives me fond memories of her making donuts, molasses cookies, and bread on it. No matter what she would make on that board, it turned out perfect. I can only hope for that.

    For the longest time I have been wanting to make donuts with the donut cutter that was my grandma's. Maybe they will turn out as good as hers. I still can taste that cake dough with the hint of nutmeg and them covered with flavored sugar. She didn't put any other decorations on it...just cinnamon and sugar. I loved that taste even though I don't particularly like cinnamon.

    I found the cutter...cleaned the dust off of it. The cutter must be as old as the cutting board. It is about three inches in diameter and has the removable "donut hole" cutter inside. There is a knobby wooden handle on top. Between the board and the cutter, that would make those two things 124 years old...and they still work! The rolling pin is new and about one third the age.

    So, I find a recipe online for cake donuts that looked similar to grandma's. Pretty simple. I have all the ingredients assembled and I start to put them together. I didn't use my electric mixer because I wanted to do this like grandma would have. Everything went in fine, but the dough was very stiff and a little lumpy. I turned it out onto the board and did a little kneading to smooth it out. Well, that didn't work well at all. I didn't want to knead it too much to make the dough tough. I covered the dough with plastic wrap to let it rest a bit. At that time Bob came into the kitchen and saw me with my head in hand and frown on face. 

    Me being a little upset at the dough results, asked Bob to rescue me by helping out. He took the task of rolling out the dough and cutting the shapes. Meanwhile, I had the oil heating up in my stainless steel dutch oven with the thermometer in it. Grandma always used a cast iron dutch oven and never used a thermometer...but her donuts turned out great. I wasn't going to trust my instincts like she did hers. 

    The oil was hot, the donuts were cut, Bob was at the ready to drop the shapes into the oil. We decided to drop the leftover, odd shaped pieces of dough in first. That way we could judge how long to keep them in the hot oil. I got the cinnamon sugar ready for the first drop. All's looking good. The odd shaped pieces come out, I sugared them.... Bob and I taste tested the odd pieces and they tasted good. The dough was dense, but the taste was tolerable. Now for the rest of the donuts to be dropped. All's looking good. First batch came out. I sugared them. We were on a roll. 

    All the donuts and donut holes were done and sugared. They looked pretty good, too. Yet, something was wrong. They were smaller than I remember. They should have been larger like I remembered as a child. How could that be? I used the same cutter grandma did. Could it be that when you are little everything is big? 

    Thursday, January 24, 2019

    ARRRGHH! Return Look at 7th Great Grandfather William Portas

    I don't know what to do now. I'm at a loss. This is the time of the year when I should be working on my genealogy/family history and forging ahead, but my gumption is as dreary as it is outside. I come upstairs to my main computer and can't get started. I look at my tree program and there is so much that has to be filled in, I don't know where to start.

    As you know, my priority surname is PORTAS and all its variations. I am a hunter-gatherer. My research has primarily been in Lincolnshire, England. I have many many PORTAS families put together and have joined many of those with my family. I am back to mid 1600s with my 7x great grandparents William and Syllina (BIRKET) m. 26 Jan 1679, Wold Newton, Lincs. Both William and Syllina are buried in Tetney parish church: William 1716 and Syllina 1720.

    Previous posts on William and Syllina:

    SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2013    SATURDAY, APRIL 5, 2014    TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2014    

    SUNDAY, AUGUST 21, 2016    SUNDAY, AUGUST 20, 2017    SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2018

    I've come to a screeching halt! I should have paid more attention years ago to William's baptism date. I could go further back like I thought I had done. I have unsubstantiated parent names well into the 1500s, but I'm not sure they belong to my line! ARRRGHH!

    Well, someone gave me William's baptism date as "about 1660" and I have also seen it on Family Trees. The date is suspect (no source), but does seem feasible because the parents I have for William were married about 1660. 

    If William was born 1660, that made him 19 when he married Syllina in 1679. Age 19 is feasible since they did marry young back then. Yet, the odd thing is Syllina was baptized 1648 which means she was 31 years old or 12 years older than William. To me that age difference is odd and a little suspect. I'm not saying what I have is wrong, but it is something to have a serious think about.

    I have a feeling his birth was somewhere between 1640-1650? My cousin Margaret has William's father as a Thomas bp. abt 1640 as do others. Could this Thomas be William's brother given the oddity of William's 1660 date and Syllina's 1648? I think that is more plausible. Thomas' father is also Thomas. 

    I haven't been able to find William's baptism in parish records or the Bishop Transcripts, presuming he was baptized in Wold Newton. I've looked in several other possible parishes to no avail. That far back, a lot of parish record pages aren't readable or non-existent.
     William could have been baptized as an adult, too, meaning he and Syllina could be about the same age.

    Syllina was baptized 20 Dec 1648, Ludborough, Lincs, about five miles away. She probably was "in service" at Wold Newton and met William there. Wold Newton was an estate-town owned by the Welfitt family with less than 70 residents around 1675.

    In William's Last Will & Testament, he names his brothers John and George, giving each five shillings. That means both were alive at the time of the 1716 writing. In my database, under William's parents, are brothers John and George, but John died in 1686 - 30 years prior; George was still around? ARRRGHH!

    The naming pattern of William and Syllina's children might give me an idea of a father's name. William and Syllina had seven (known) children: William 1679, Mary 1681, John (died some time before 1689) and Thomas 1683 (twins?), Jane 1685, Elizabeth 1688, John 1689. There aren't any big gaps in the birth dates, so I don't think there are any other children.

    Usually the first son is named after his paternal grandfather, second son after maternal grandfather, third son after father, fourth son after father's oldest brother.

    First born is William, then John who passed away early (his name was recycled with seventh child). Third born son is named Thomas. Following common naming patterns, you would think William's father should be William not Thomas. Thomas (bp. 1640) is my guess for William's "potential" brother. ARRRGHH!

    I don't know if I'm right or not. All I know is I really have to get to a family history center to go through their images. Why oh why did I take that second look at William and Syllina?