Philip Babb, another theory

One only has to do an internet search for “Philip Babb” + “Isles of Shoals” to discover a number of myths and stories about Philip Babb “the fishing master”, Philip Babb “the constable”, Philip Babb “the butcher”, Philip Babb “the ghost”–not to mention Philip Babb’s purported hidden treasure.

There are equally as many theories as to the true identity of the immigrant Philip Babb who spent nearly twenty years of his life centered around the Isles of Shoals.

Family historians have found reports that a Philip Babb, son of Philip and Mary Babb, was baptized April 6, 1634, at St Dunstan, Stepney in London.

Docklands and East End vital records show the occupation of the father of this Philip Babb as “mariner”.

The Docklands was “for centuries the principal hub of the British seaborne trade.”

The family’s address was High Street in the Limehouse area. Limehouse gets its name from the lime kilns for the large potteries along the River Thames that date from as early as the 14th century. Limehouse became a major port and housed warehouses significant to the maritime industry.

It is easy to see why Philip Babb would have settled with his family in London’s East End.

The major problem with Philip Babb the immigrant being one and the same as the one baptized in 1634 is that records show that the same child was buried November 15, 1640, at St Dunstan’s. There is no mistaking this as the record gives both the baptismal and burial dates for this child.

This was the second child born to Philip and Mary who had a brief life. Their son John was baptized August 27th and buried September 4th in 1630 at St Dunstan’s. A third child, Mary, was baptized March 21, 1637. Nothing more is found of her. It is possible that none of Philip and Mary’s children survived childhood.


It is often reported that a Philip Babb and Marie Plumtree/Plumtry married November 19, 1629, at St Saviour in Plymouth, Devon. There is no doubt that Philip Babb the mariner could have found his way to the Docklands of London to make his living and support his family.

There was also a Philip Babb who was buried May 21, 1608, in Jacobstowe, Devon. It is not impossible that this was the father of immigrant Philip Babb. In fact, the actual name Philip Babb is found infrequently in records while there are pages upon pages of other Babb names to be found. The Devonshire connection cannot be overlooked. Additionally, if the Philip Babb who was buried in 1608 was father to the immigrant Philip Babb, this gives an approximate birth time for him, before 1608, that is. As we do not have any further information about the Philip who died in 1608 this is pure speculation but no wilder a theory than many others.

An alternative theory is that the immigrant Philip Babb, mariner, left London for several possible reasons. He was a mariner by trade. He could have agreed to sign onto a voyage to just about anywhere imaginable as merchant ships plied their trade globally.

The extra “spice” in this theory comes from another London vital record, the marriage of “Widowed” Mary Babb on July 9, 1642, to Alexander Leake. Mary still resided in the Docklands. Alexander was a laborer at Wapping Wall in London.

Like Limehouse, Wapping Wall is located in the East End. The area runs parallel to the River Thames in the warehouse and wharves district.

How this came about is open to speculation. Did Philip Babb simply leave and never return? Was he reported drowned or otherwise lost at sea? Had he decided to make his luck in New England with the intention of bringing his wife there at a later date?

These possible explanations bear up in light of the fact nothing more is found of Philip Babb in England. And we do know that his “Widowed” wife, Mary Babb, married again.

The gap in time between the burial of their son Philip and Mary’s remarriage is brief, indicating that she had received word that her husband was gone and that it was time to move on.

Of course, there is another possibility: Mary Babb had already made acquaintance with Alexander Leake, possibly during one of Philip’s absences at sea, and that was the reason that Philip Babb departed London, never to return. There is no record or report of his demise. He could have been at sea any number of years before making his way to the Isles of Shoals.

What is sure is that he was not a young man when he made his home on Hog Island. Indeed, a fisherman’s life in those days, especially in the Isles, was not an easy one, particularly harsh during the winter months.

However, Philip Babb was dead by March 1671, less than twenty years after he appeared there in 1652.

If this theory holds up, then Philip Babb married second Mary Baylie and had a second family to which he left an estate valued in excess of £320 pounds. The inventory included cattle, a warehouse with rooms attached, moorings, and at least one house, in addition to household goods, furniture, an old boat, salt, a valuable commodity to the fishing industry, plus fish and oil. The mention of extra rooms suggests to some that Philip Babb ran a tavern on the island. Not a bad legacy at all to show for less than twenty years of hard work.

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William Ham of Cornwall

Consensus on from where William Ham and his wife Honor Stephens originated (that is, where and when they were born), where and when William Ham emigrated to in New England, and where and when William settled his family appears to be lacking.

The answers to many of these questions come from geography.

It is generally agreed upon that William Ham’s wife, Honor Stephens, was the daughter of William Stephens and Mary Woode, who were married April 21, 1600, at St Andrew’s Church in Plymouth, Devon. Honor, also found as Honour, was baptized February 4, 1601, at the same church.

At first blush it appears that this disproves all claims that Honor was born in Cornwall — until you understand that Plymouth in Devonshire is only a quick boat ride down the Tamar River from Cornwall and that that part of Devonshire and Cornwall share a border.

In fact, William Ham’s parents, Richard and Matilda (surname unknown) Hame were married in Landulph, Cornwall. Richard was baptized in Landulph and his parents were quite likely married there, as well.

Landulph, or Landilip, is in the East Hundred of Cornwall. It is bound on the north, east, and south by the river Tamar. Landulph is both a village and a parish on the Devon border, only a few miles north of Plymouth. To Landulph’s west is Botus-Fleming, the town where William Ham and his sister Johane were baptized.

It appears that William’s mother Matilda was the wife of a second, possibly third, marriage for his father Richard Hame. Six children (born between 1571 and 1581) were born to Richard and Cicilia (surname unknown), all of whom baptized in Landulph. The two children, Johane in 1592 and William in 1594, born to Richard and Matilda were the only ones baptized in Botus-Fleming. It is possible that this was the home town of William’s mother.

William Ham and Honor Stephens married November 20, 1622, at St Andrew’s Church in Plymouth.

However, when William and Honor’s children Matthew and Elizabeth were born, the family was residing in Landulph, Cornwall. Here is where the children were baptized in 1624 and 1629 respectively.

This would indicate that, following their marriage in late November 1622 in nearby Plymouth, Devon, there was a period of separation until about 1628, when Elizabeth, their second known child was conceived. Matthew was likely conceived soon after the marriage, born sometime in 1624. There do not appear to have been any more children who were baptized or survived.

It should now be obvious that travel in this unique area of Cornwall-Devon was quite fluid.

FH Map Cornwall East Hundred

New England Bound

There are varying reports about how and when William Ham came to New England.

He came to Maine in 1635 aboard the Speedwell with the Trelawny Expedition. The ship arrived April 26, 1635, at the Richmond Island fishing colony off Cape Elizabeth (now Falmouth), situated in today’s Cumberland County, Maine.

In the Trelawny Papers, in 1635, we find a report by Narias Hawkins to Robert Trelawny that “Lannder, Ham, Billin & Clarke, William Freythye & Symons”, who were there with him at Richmond Island, had left the “service” of John Winter. Hawkins said he did not know if they would return. This is a polite way of saying that they had deserted from their employment.

These six men were John Lannder, John Bellin, Oliver Clarke, William Frethy, John Symonds, and William Ham.

Hawkins assured Trelawny he would not send for them, as they had collectively been a problem for him and Winter. Hawkins also said he would issue an order along the coast that “no man shall entertaine them.”

One possible explanation for the men’s desertion is that the ships being used to transport fish from the colony were not seaworthy. In June 1635, John Winter wrote that the Speedwell would be loaded and ready to depart in another six or seven days. The fish would be shipped to ports in Spain and France, and “exchanged for wines, salt, and other commodities; the refuse fish … going to Barbadoes and other slave-holding countries to feed the slaves.” The James had recently been lost on its voyage to Virginia and Winter wrote that he had “nother Intent as yt but to Com away in the Speedwell, for I thinke the Company will not Com home in her otherwise: the[y] tell me so plainely, the ship an old leake vessel still, that our men ar[e] very unwilling to Com home in her.”

By the “Company” Winter meant the fishermen hired to come over to the fishing colony at Richmond Island. Clearly these men were well aware of the Speedwell’s deficiencies and even Winter’s presence on board was not enough to entice them to voyage aboard her again. Their choice was to travel southward along the coast and reach a safe harbor before winter set in and the fishing colony had to hunker down for the duration.

Winter admonished Trelawny for his choice of vessel to send to the colony but did soften his words by placing his future fate into God’s hands: “You made Choyce of a bad ship to Com this way, but I do assure my selfe, that God of his mercy can bringe us as safly home in this weake ship as he Can in a stronger, yf yt please him.”

Although William Ham and his cohort had only been at Richmond Island a short while they were well aware of how harsh the previous winter had been. John Winter mentioned to Trelawny that of the recent shipment of “Cattell & gootes” that arrived aboard the Speedwell, three ewe goats and three kids had been lost “overwards” on the journey and only one ram goat and most of the ewe goats were alive but not one kid. Winter remarked that, fortunately, “I prayse God we have a good stocke of swine, old & younge; but the last winter was hard winter for swine, that was many lost in divers places.” The “many lost” included 50 or 60 pigs of all ages, although about 90 survived the winter. At least 50 would be needed for the upcoming winter, still several months away.

According to a footnote in the Trelawny Papers, after leaving the service of John Winter, the deserters “probably all went to Piscataqua (Portsmouth) with John Symonds, who was one of John Mason’s servants, and after the latter’s death, in 1635, had found employment with Winter.” Once in Portsmouth, it states, William Ham became a landowner, with his “name being in the list of persons to whom lands were granted in 1660.” This statement, however, as you will see, is not quite accurate.


We do have a clear indication that William Ham had at least begun to settle in or around Portsmouth by 1646. His whereabouts between the time he left Trelawny’s Richmond Island fishing colony and 1646 is unknown.

The Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire says that William Ham was sued in 1646 by Henry Taylor in New Hampshire. Neither the nature of the suit or its outcome are explained.

New Hampshire court records include the August 26, 1646, session: “Henry Tayler Plainfiff William Ham Defendt upon an accon of accompt for 30 [shillings].” However, the suit was Taylor’s loss as the court found for William Ham. Taylor had to pay him “Thirteene shillings damages & Costs of Court.”

Henry Taylor is believed to have been in Portsmouth by 1640. However, his name is not found in early Portsmouth records between 1645 and 1656; nor is it found in Stackpole’s history of Durham, New Hampshire, which encompasses many families of Portsmouth, Greenland, and Dover. Henry Taylor died before July 5, 1649, when administration of his estate was granted to John Webster.

Taylor seems to have been a man capable of causing—and getting himself into—trouble. The court held October 3, 1648, at Dover ordered that Henry Taylor be “safely kepte & sente to Boston Goale forthwith, there to remain until the next course of assistance at Boston.” Also on October 3, 1648, a grand jury presented Taylor for “beinge Drunke” and “find for it x [shillings].”

Further, at the same session, the grand jury presented John Crowther for calling his wife a whore because his “girle” (most likely a daughter) told him that Henry Taylor “hath bine severall times with his wiefe with manye other bad matters which wilbe further witnessed by moste of the Inhabitants of strawberry bank also that the saide henrye Taylor with the wiefe of John Crowther, the said John Crowther hath publikelie related that himself.” Witnesses were summoned but the disposition of Taylor’s case is unreported.

It is quite possible that Henry Taylor—fond of drink and other excesses—died before any further action could be taken. The nature of this matter, however, indicates why Taylor’s case against William Ham not only failed but resulted in a punishment.

The GDMNH also reports that William Ham and John Lander were fishing off Cape Neddick (York, York, Maine) before William moved to Portsmouth. No record of this is found, keeping in mind that these early fishermen often used the Isles of Shoals as an occasional unfixed base.

John Farmer, in his Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New-England, writes that William Ham was in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1646. Early Exeter histories make no mention of him. By January 13, 1652, William had settled in Portsmouth; he had a land grant and built his home there at what was once Ham’s Point, later Freeman’s Point.

Also, the GDMNH informs that, after having served on a Grand Jury in 1653 and 1655, and as Selectman in Portsmouth in 1656, William “Old Ham” Ham was named in 1656 as one of three “men witches” in town. No details have been found.

Ham or Hame?

Early Portsmouth records show that the surname for William and his son, Matthew, were recorded as both Hame and Ham. The surname “Hame”, which prevails in Cornwall records, appears several times.

At the January 13, 1652, town meeting, the allotment for “each Inhabitant” was recorded. “William. Hame” received 50 “acers.” It was decided at the December 5, 1653, town meeting that the “plains shall be laied out at the first opertunitie” under the guidance of Mr. Richard Cutt, Renald Fernald, Thomas Walford, and William Cotton. The plains next to Goodman Pudington’s property should also be laid out. The second name in the “first squadron by lott” was “William. Hame”, who received 16 2/3 “acers”. At a public town meeting held June 5, 1654, a lot next to his father’s was granted to “Mathew Hame”.

However, at a public town meeting March 27, 1656, the selectmen were chosen for the following year. William “Ham” and his son Matthew “Ham” made their marks in witness of the event. At a general town meeting February 14, 1658, the amounts of funding contributed by father and son “Ham” to maintain a minister are reported as £1 for William and 10 shillings for his son, Matthew.

Next Generation

William’s wife, Honor, the GDMNH reports, is only mentioned November 11, 1667, when William sold his dwelling and fishing plant on “Malligoe Island”. The fishing operation was then in the hands of William Oliver.

This supports the possibility that William Ham, after leaving Richmond Island, had made his way to the Isles of Shoals. Malaga Island is a tiny island due west of Smuttynose Island, since 1820 connected to it by a breakwater.

It is unknown when he acquired either the property itself or the rights to set up a dwelling and a fishing plant there.

It is also unknown when Honor Ham joined her husband in New England. Robert Charles Anderson’s Great Migration directory reports William Ham arriving in 1638. There exists the possibility that William returned to Cornwall at some point, possibly after he left Richmond Island, and returned with his family around 1638 or later. The GDMNH reports that Matthew Ham did not arrive until after his father but does not say whether that would have been after 1635 or at a much later date. The records are silent as to when his mother Honor came and possibly brought him and his sister Elizabeth with her. There are no extant ship records to help us.

Regarding William Ham’s estate, the GDMNH says his will December 21, 1672-June 27, 1673, names the children of his daughter Elizabeth Cotton and three of his Ham grandsons.

The presumed omission of his son Matthew as heir to his father’s estate is explained by the fact that Matthew predeceased his father by eight years.

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TUSLE: Lydston

It’s time for TUSLE #2 (a.k.a. tying up some loose ends).

The lineage for Weymouth Lydston, a fisherman in Kittery, Maine, is muddied by the report in the Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire that there was a “John Lydstone of Dartmouth” in Devon, England, who married Elizabeth Worthley September 30, 1610, in St. Petherick.

Unfortunately, the GDMNH does not put any explanation to this entry other, perhaps, than to subtly suggest that this John Lydston is related or connected to the two other Lydston entries that follow it.

In fact, this John Lidstone, baptized September 21, 1584, in Malborough, Devon, married Elizabeth Worteleye on that date at St Petrox, Devon. This is where the information about them ends in online parish records. No information about their children has been found.

The next Lydston entry in the GDMNH is for Capt. John Lydston, born about 1673 (aged 59 in 1732). He was a shipwright who worked for Gabriel Tetherly about 1687. He was wounded by Indians in 1693. John had a son named Weymouth, also a shipwright, making the family connection clear.

The GDMNH entry for Weymouth Lydston shows the itinerant nature of those who depended on shipbuilding and the coastal trade. Weymouth was fined at the Isles of Shoals in 1680; had a land grant of 20 acres in Kittery that he laid out in 1681 and 1682; and was taxed at Falmouth, Cumberland, Maine, in 1683-84.

Weymouth named one of his sons Weymouth. His daughter Sarah married John Ham. She is the reason for this TUSLE, to sort out her Lydston line. (Note that the GDMNH hints that a Sarah Lydston had a child out of wedlock by Joshua Remick of Kittery “shortly after his 1st marriage” in July 1694. By 1690, Sarah, daughter of John Lydston, was married to John Ham.)

In Everett Stackpole’s Old Kittery and Her Friends he writes that a George Lydden, a seaman, bought land at Crooked Lane in 1670. George was living in 1691 but his wife Sarah was a widow by 1693, and she died before 1698. Edward Liddon or Litton, obviously of the same family Lydden, he says, resided on the lot next to George.

Stackpole then suggests that George and Edward may have been either the sons or brothers of Weymouth.

Neither name is found as either a son or a brother to Weymouth. The three known children are Weymouth, (Capt.) John, and Sarah. There were possibly more but their names have not been found.

Weymouth Lydston was not the son of the John and Elizabeth (Worteleye) Lidstone who married in 1610 at Dartmouth, Devonshire. Although the date of his baptism, March 19, 1636, in South Huish, Devonshire, is not beyond the reach of a woman of those days, these are not his parents.

The only record found regarding anyone of his name, Waymouth Lydston, is for parents Richard and Grace Lidston of South Huish. His mother’s surname is not reported. The only sibling immediately located in parish records is a sister Grace, born ten years prior, in 1626, and baptized in Stoke Fleming, Devonshire, a family stronghold.

Weymouth’s grandfather, Robert Lidston, was baptized (1575), married (1599), and buried (1623) in Stoke Fleming. His great grandfather, Henry Lidston, was married (1561) and buried (1626) there. Unfortunately, the names of his grandmothers are lost due to very poorly preserved handwritten parish records. However, we are talking about the late 1500s and early 1600s and this is not unexpected.

This should settle the matter of any relationships suggested by the GDMNH between John and Elizabeth (Worteleye) Lyston married in Dartmouth, Devonshire and Weymouth Lydston of Kittery (Eliot), Maine.

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Just a brief word

No, I have not tired out from all the heavy blogging here. I’ve only just begun.

That said, a little family tree housekeeping is in order.

The shift to full-time family history research and file updating has led to the need to update not only what I am doing but how I am doing it.

Background: In 2003-2004 I undertook to create a “family history” for my children for Christmas 2004. It was a monster project of both online (as limited as it was) and stubby pencil research but did get done in time — all four three-inches thick three-ring binder folders (A-Z) for families from both sides (mine and my husband’s) of the family for each child. Plus: each had a binder full of stories found here and there and maps both European and U.S. for locations ancestors came from and went to.

This was while still working a full-time job. About two years ago it seemed time to begin updating some of those histories (plural, as each branch had received a researched written family history report). This was still while holding down a full-time job or two.

I did not use or create a family tree program. About a year ago, it seemed time to organize using one. I chose MyHeritage (not a plug), which worked out quite well as it helped to fill in some gaps and put the hundreds of family tree and branches into a semblance of order. (Note: my mistake was being too trusting of other people’s input from the hints. Never again!)

Now: It finally dawned on me that I needed a bit more sophisticated family tree (that is transportable) and now have the time (no longer full-time employed other than for myself) to work on it.

The bad news is that I use an iMac and my chosen family tree program does not run on it (yet). The good news is that I did choose an online program that is similar and seems to be working out quite well and (bonus) is transportable. If (when) my first choice will operate on my iMac, then I will be able to transport my files to it.

MEANWHILE, I am in the process of (1) tidying up all the “paper” family histories; (2) adding more of them (more branches, that is); (3) updating said “paper” family histories with new databases that are coming online and available at a break-neck speed it seems; (4) updating the MyHeritage files and using the names-dates-places info for initial input into my new family tree program (transitional move); and (5) doing it all without time clocks and deadlines other than my own.

Ain’t semi-retirement grand?! You betcha’!

SO … when a good story forces my hand, and there are a lot of them, I shall blog! Otherwise, you know where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing.


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Hinckley D. Harris: Civil War Veteran and a most courageous soldier

Hinckley Dyer Troupe Harris died March 7, 1886, at the fairly young age of 59.

He led an interesting, action-filled life, as related in the obviously family-published booklet, A Sketch of the Ancestry and Genealogy of Hinkley D. Harris and Mary Wescott Harris.

However, a few details are in order first.

The ninth child of Leonard W. and Jane (Keneston) Harris, Hinckley was born in Orford, Grafton County, New Hampshire. By the time of his birth, December 24, 1827, his oldest brother, Jerome T. Harris, was on his way to the Medical School of Maine at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. Dr. Harris graduated in the class of 1830. Hinckley’s second oldest brother, Horatio W. Harris, was preparing for the ministry at the New Hampton Institution, a New Hampshire seminary established in 1825 in the town that bears the same name. Rev. Harris was licensed to preach in October 1833 by the Wentworth (New Hampshire) Church.

Hinckley married Mary Elizabeth Wescott in Lowell, Massachusetts, on March 16, 1852. (Note that he is also found in records as Dyer T.H. Harris, Dyer Troupe Hinckley Harris, Henry D. Harris, and Hinklee D. Harris.) Just prior to his marriage, Hinckley and his brother Charles F. Harris resided in a boarding house in Lowell. Two more of his brothers, George L. Harris and Page M. Harris, were living in company-owned housing of the Lawrence Manufacturing Corporation which operated mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

The biographical booklet states that, at an early age, Hinckley went to sea on “several short trips.” One of these trips took him to the Grand Banks from which he returned with 1200 pounds of cod. On another trip, said to have been in 1850, he returned with 300 barrels of sperm oil. It is likely that he hired out as short-term labor.

Yet another report is that, around 1853, most likely before his marriage and settling down in Lowell, Hinckley returned to sea. This time he was “shipwrecked off the coast of San Domingo and lost all his property.”

Although none of his writings have been found, it is also reported that he was a “poet of no mean ability and composed poems about the principal events in his life.”

Unlike his oldest two brothers, Hinckley’s education was of the “hard knocks” variety and did not come from any known institution of higher learning.

Hinckley enlisted in the Union Army, in Company D, 7th New Hampshire Infantry Volunteers, on September 9, 1861. He was mustered in on November 6th. (A year later, on August 25, 1862, his brother Page M. Harris, served briefly in the Union Army, in Company K 51st Infantry Regiment. He was mustered out a month later, at Worcester, Massachusetts.)

Hinckley Harris not only served in the middle of combat but it also cost him a limb in the process.

The family history booklet briefly informs that, on July 11, 1863, while General Quincy Adams Gillmore’s forces “were trying to take Fort Wagner on Morris Island” [in South Carolina], Hinckley was “wounded and lay for 24 hours in a marsh, with his head propped up with his knapsack.” He had been wounded three times during the night as he lie there. He was found the next day and sent off to a hospital “where it was found necessary to amputate one leg close to his body.”

Lt. Henry F.W. Little, 7th New Hampshire Volunteers wrote a first-hand account of how Hinckley lost his leg:

So narrow was the neck of land between our advanced works and Fort Wagner, that, small as was our regiment in numbers, only six companies could cross in a line, and consequently four companies had to march en echelon to the rear. Then, as if aroused from sleep Fort Wagner opened its batteries. … For a moment the brigade was halted, at the moment that the regiment was under [Col. Robert G. Shaw, commander of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts (colored)], and the First Brigade struck the enemy’s picket line—which time the writer of this [was] occupied in placing a tourniquet upon one of the men in Company D, Hinckley D. Harris, by name, whose right leg was badly shattered at the knee by a grapeshot, and we had barely time to affix the instrument, the grape and canister in the meantime splashing the water into our faces; for the left of the regiment then stood in the edge of the marsh on the left of the narrow neck of the land, and the water was a foot deep or more where we stood—when we heard the ringing command, “Forward.”

The hospital was on Davids Island, a property leased to the U.S. War Department for hospital purposes. The De Camp General Hospital was originally established in 1862 for Union soldiers. However, after the Battle of Gettysburg it housed both Union and Confederate soldiers. The latter were moved to prisoner of war camps as soon as possible.

We know from unit historical reports[1] that D Company 7th New Hampshire Infantry Volunteers was at Dry Tortugas, Florida, until June 16, 1862. Next, it moved to Beaufort, South Carolina, where it stayed until September 15th, before moving on to St. Augustine, Florida, and remained on duty until May 10, 1863. A detachment from the unit was involved in a skirmish near St. Augustine on March 9th. The unit was at Fernandina, Florida, until June 15th, when it moved on to Hilton Head, South Carolina, and thence to Folly Island, South Carolina.

Fort Wagner

Movement ceased with a siege operation against Folly Island until July 10th. Assault on Water Batteries on Morris Island took place on July 10th and on Fort Wagner itself on Morris Island on July 11th and 18th. The fort remained under siege until it and Fort Gregg were captured on September 7th.

Another account about New Hampshire’s brave volunteers lends a bit more detail (emphasis added):

On [July] 17th the regiment embarked on the steamer Delaware at Hilton Head, bound for Folly Island, where a landing was effected about midnight; and from this time until July 10 the regiment was actively engaged in the construction of batteries on the north end of Folly Island, with regular tours of picket duty. On the morning of July 10 these batteries opened at daylight, surprising the enemy completely and covering the landing of a force under General [George] Strong, who carried the fortifications on the south end of Morris Island, and which was followed by the crossing over to Morris Island of the whole remaining force, and the Seventh went on picket at night within a mile of Fort Wagner and commenced the entrenchments afterwards known as the first parallel in the siege of Fort Wagner.

… From the 12th to the 18th the regiment was actively engaged in the trenches and on fatigue duty, in preparation for the second assault on Fort Wagner. About sunset on the 18th the First Brigade under General Strong, supported by the Second Brigade under Colonel Putnam, were ordered to make an assault on Fort Wagner, and during the hour and a half that the engagement lasted the Seventh lost two hundred and eighteen killed, wounded, and missing, and of this number eighteen were officers, eleven of whom–including our beloved colonel – were either slain outright, or mortally wounded and left in the enemy’s hands, and on the following morning only nine officers and two hundred and fifty-three men were in line. In this engagement the Seventh suffered the loss of more officers than were lost by any other regiment in any one engagement during the war.

Hinckley was discharged from the military hospital on March 4, 1864, and returned home.

FP Dyer Hinckley Harris family

As the pamphlet reports, “With splendid courage he turned to farming, bought a place of his own, and at odd times plied his trade as painter as well, and, in spite of his handicap of an artificial leg and crutches, he did well.”

One more tragedy struck Hinckley’s family in 1879, when a fire leveled his farm buildings at Hill, New Hampshire. He purchased a small farm in Pelham, New Hampshire and moved his family there.

It was here, at Pelham, where he died on March 7, 1886, and where he is buried with his wife.

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Harris: A distinguished medical career and a near career ender

Leonard W. and Jane Harris, according to one family historian, had eleven children. Until recently the seven known children appeared to make that a case of wishful thinking. The discovery of a “new” sibling suggested that there might be more. The count now stands at ten.

The report has been that of the eleven, at least two were born in Orford in Grafton County, New Hampshire. In fact, we now know that at least the first three children were. The first two, the oldest of Leonard and Jane’s children, are among the new “finds.”

Leonard W. Harris was born March 18, 1782, in Groton to parents Job and Elena (Harris) Harris. Groton is a town near Orford. It aligns with the eastern shore of the Connecticut River, across from Vermont.

It is claimed that Leonard’s wife, Jane, was Jane Keneston. Nothing is known about her. In fact, we only have an estimated marriage date of sometime after 1804. Until the discovery of these “new” children, the marriage was estimated to have occurred in 1808 or 1809 based on the birth date of the then-oldest child.

Jerome T. Harris, Leonard and Jane’s oldest son, born about 1807 in Orford, was a member of the medical profession. He graduated as a member of the class of 1830 from Bowdoin College, a liberal arts college in Brunswick, Maine, chartered in 1794. Between 1821 and 1921 Bowdoin operated the Medical School of Maine.

It is unclear where Dr. Harris first entered practice. A Bowdoin catalog lists his residence shortly after graduation as Methuen, Massachusetts. A 1902 general catalog lists him, as a member of the class of 1830, as being a physician at Salem, New Hampshire, and Lawrence, Massachusetts. A pamphlet for Hampstead, New Hampshire, reports that in 1849, he was there. There is an over-lapping report that he was in Lawrence.

It is obvious that Dr. Harris spent considerable time in Hampstead, as that is where he resided when he married December 19, 1833, at the Kingston First Church (Kingston), New Hampshire, Mary Tewksbury of Hawke (Danville), New Hampshire.

On June 2, 1849, Dr. Harris married second Caroline Hamilton (Eaton) Witt. His residence was then given as Lawrence, Massachusetts. He was Caroline’s second husband. She married February 1, 1837, Dr. Azra L. Witt, who died in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Dr. Harris’ itinerant behavior is perhaps explained by his desire to go beyond the practice of the average physician. By the time of his second marriage he had changed his focus to homoeopathic medicine. Under whom he studied or took instruction is unknown.

The Proceedings of the Massachusetts Homoeopathic Society (1840-1861) reported that Dr. Harris was the first settled practitioner of this healing craft in Lawrence.

Jerome Harris, M.D., formerly an allopathic physician, commenced practice here, and succeeded very well. At that time the city was comparatively new, and the changing character of the population led Dr. Harris in 1854 to go to Dover, N.H., as successor to Dr. E.U. Jones.

Dr. Harris later stated, in a letter dated 1870, that after graduating from Bowdoin College he had practiced allopathy until 1845. He then “adopted homoeopathy” and practiced it ever since not only in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and Dover, New Hampshire, but also Norwich, Connecticut, and was at the time practicing it in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Dr. Harris practiced in Salem (1859 and 1860) and Newburyport, Massachusetts. City and business directories show him (keep in mind that these publications often provide delayed reports) in Norwich, Connecticut (1862-1866); Pawtucket, Rhode Island (1867 and 1870-1872); and Woonsocket, Rhode Island (1868-1870 and 1876).

By 1880, Dr. and Mrs. Harris settled in Middleborough, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, where they stayed until Dr. Harris died April 6, 1882. His wife brought his remains home to New Hampshire. He is buried in the same cemetery in Pelham as his brother, Hinkley Dyer Troupe Harris. Mrs. Harris resided in Pelham for the few months until her death, December 18, 1882. She is buried with Dr. Harris.

Near Career Disaster

Dr. Harris and city and business directories are silent as to when, exactly, he practiced homoeopathy in Boston, Massachusetts.

The accounts of what happened in Boston are, perhaps, a decade or more after actual events. These accounts, appearing in both The Boston Weekly Globe in January 1883 and The Inter Ocean of Chicago in February 1890, relate the tale of the well-known “flamboyant quack” and blackmailer, “Dr.” Charles L. Blood.

The long and the short of it is that Blood set up shop in Boston (one of many locations for his scams) offering treatments for an assortment of ailments using “oxygenized air”, essentially none other than nitrous oxide or “laughing gas.”

Dr. Harris, as the story goes, did not expose Blood–who was not a physician–as a charlatan but rather joined him in his own game, styling his treatment as “superoxygenated air.”

As crazy as this treatment sounds–using air to treat such illnesses as impure blood conditions, the use of air to treat medical conditions was recognized by Thomas Beddoes and James Watt in a 1796 publication on the medicinal use and production of “factitious air”. We would recognize the application today as similar to the action of “superoxygenated hyperbaric chamber.”

“Dr.” Blood decided to fight the competition–Dr. Harris had set up his medical headquarters nearby and in an office formerly used by “Dr.” Blood–by bringing in a ringer. A man named Carvill, allegedly of Lewiston, Maine, showed up at Dr. Harris’ office desiring his treatment.

Immediately following said treatment, Carvill fell to the floor, frothing at the mouth, and writhing in pain. Blood made sure that the newspapers were not only informed of the outcome but also kept abreast of Carvill’s “recovery”–as recover he did, of course. Dr. Harris attempted to settle legally with Carvill, who refused. Dr. Harris’ lawyers advised him not to pay Carvill. It was sage advice, as the case finally fell through in early winter 1866/67, it was reported.

Dr. Harris had a near professional escape, perhaps also explaining why he removed his practice to Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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Gowen: Scotland to Nova Scotia

When teen-aged William Gowen left Scotland aboard the Unity as one of about 150 prisoners of war following defeat by Cromwell’s forces in the Battle of Dunbar, we can barely imagine what he was thinking about the New World across the Atlantic. Would he survive the voyage? Would he return home after his seven years of forced indenture? What kind of future lie ahead?

The English government was certain of one thing: it did not want these defeated Scots, especially the highlanders, to remain in their homeland. New England and other destinations like it were carefully chosen:

On 3 Sep 1650, the English defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar. There were 4000 dead, 10,000 captured, and 4000 more escaped. After being captured, they were marched from Durham to Newcastle. They were given very little to eat. Between the march and lack of food, many died along the way. Disease was rampant. Some men were shot because they either could not or would not march. When they reached their destination, they happened upon a field of cabbage. They ate all of it, which of course made them even sicker than they already were.

The surviving Scots presented the English with a problem. Holding such a large number of prisoners could be costly. However, letting them go could prove to be very dangerous. One week after the battle, the Council of State, which was England’s governing body, decided to turn the problem over to the committee and informed Sir Arthur Hasenlrigge, that he could [dispose] of as many of the Scots as he felt proper to work in the coal mines.

With that authority Hasslrigge sent forty men to work as indenture[d] servants at the salt works at Shields. He then sold another forty men as general laborers and set up a trade of Linen Cloth, twelve prisoners became weavers. While this was going on, the Council had received several petitions from persons, who wished to transport the Scots overseas. On September 16th, the secretary, Gualter Frost, was ordered to confer with the petitioners, to terms under which they would undertake the project. John Becx and Joshua Foote conferred with their partners, the Undertakers of the Iron Works [at Lynn (Saugus), Massachusetts Bay Colony]. Three days later, Hasseltigge was directed to deliver 150 prisoners to New England, with conditions that these men were well and sound and free of wounds because Hasslrigge, was concerned that these men were all infected. They were sent to London by water.

It was not until November 11th that clearance was granted for the Unity to sail. The ship arrived at Boston in December, after what was likely an unpleasant voyage.

It appears William completed his seven years of servitude at the mills in Berwick, Maine.

William, by the way, is found in some records as William Smith or William Gowen alias Smith. This, however, is a bit misleading as Gowan means a smith and, by trade, William was a carpenter.

In May 1667, in Kittery, Maine, William married Elizabeth Frost. She was daughter of Nicholas Frost and Bertha Cadwalla who came in 1634 to New England from Tiverton, Devonshire.

In July 1650, when Elizabeth was barely ten years old, her mother and sister Anna were captured by Indians and taken to their camp at the mouth of Sturgeon Creek. Her father, Captain Nicholas Frost, and brother Charles unsuccessfully attempted to rescue them. The following day they found the bodies of her mother and sister in the abandoned camp. [1]

William Gowen prospered, as did many of the Scot POWs. He and fellow countrymen Peter Grant, William Furbish, John Bray, and Alexander (Sander) Cooper all had grants of land in Kittery. Between 1669 and 1671, William had accumulated 200 acres.

His time on the battlefield in Scotland, hard work at the saw mills, and the harsh life of the wilderness in Maine took their toll. William died in Berwick on April 2, 1686, when he was probably less than fifty years of age. [1]

His son Nicholas had two grants of land in Kittery, in 1694 and 1703, which totaled eighty acres. He was an Indian scout in his younger days and among those ordered to have garrisons or ensure that their houses were defensible. In the latter year, Nicholas, obviously named after his grandfather Frost, was admitted to practice as an attorney at the York County court and was a representative to the General Court in 1709. [GDMNH:279]

Nicholas and his wife, Abigail Hodsdon, were the parents of nine children. Their five daughters married and raised their families locally, as did three of their four sons.

Capt. James Gowen, however, joined the fight in the French & Indian War at Lake George. It had been ongoing for nine years in what was described as a “see-saw battle”. The “British commanders were desperate to drive the French out of upper New York.” [2]

James Gowen, at age 43, had seen militia duty for several years, but this was the first time his company had been involved in an amphibious landing against a strongly fortified position. His troops were farmers, shopkeepers and mechanics and were struggling to keep their boat in formation. Strung out across the lake in disorganized confusion was the flotilla composed of 900 bateaux, 135 whale boats and 16 barges bearing the artillery.

This spectacle is all the more interesting as Lake George is landlocked with the nearest large water body at Lake Champlain and waterway the Connecticut River–neither of which connected with Lake George–plus mountainous Vermont as a barrier. A look at any aerial map will show that there is no direct waterway connecting to it. The “flotilla” literally had to be carried overland great distances along ancient Indian paths to reach the lake. (The idea of whale boats being on the lake is nearly unbelievable. How did the military leaders get them there?)

Capt. Gowen later commanded a company at Crown Point, New York, which is on Lake Champlain. His nephews, Corp. David Gowen and Pvt. Samuel Gowen, served under his command. Samuel reportedly was killed in battle. Capt. Gowen returned home briefly but, with his troops, joined the Battle of Quebec under Major-General James Wolfe, who was fatally wounded. By 1762, Capt. Gowen and other war veterans signed a petition asking for land grants at “Mt. Deseret, Massachusetts Bay Colony”. He was soon back in Canada, however, on “occupation duty” in Quebec City. [2]

Meanwhile, his older brother Patrick and wife, Miriam (Shackley), and their teenage son, Moses, made plans to leave Maine. Few of Patrick’s thirteen children reached adulthood or established families.

It is believed that they traveled to Nova Scotia together in spring 1762 and helped settle the permanent non-French settlement at Yarmouth.

Although it might be assumed that they were part of a group of colonists, they were not. In fact, the first “thirteen”, as they are called, do not appear to have been related in any way other than perhaps familiarity with the area based on long-term fishing practice. Even then, the area was unsettled and unfriendly enough that after fishing season passed, the hardy New England fishermen returned to a less-harsh winter in Massachusetts.

A history of early Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia informs:

Patrick Gowen of Kittery, Maine, settled in this area in the spring of 1762, followed later in the year by Seth Barnes, Cornelius Rogers and George Bridgeo. They built log homes among the trees near the shore line. Patrick Gowen was a land surveyor, the first in the County of Yarmouth. He died in March, 1776, and was buried on his own property, for many years known as Gowen’s Point. … [On] April 7th, 1767, those in this community receiving grants of land included Patrick Gowen, George Bridgeo, Cornelius Rogers, William Curtis, John Symonds and Lemuel Churchill.

A list of settlers in Yarmouth was compiled in 1763. It shows the name of the settlers, the number in their family, the number and type of livestock they had, and how many acres of land.

Patrick Gowen and Moses Gowen appear on the list. There were three persons in Patrick’s family and only the one, Moses, in his. Patrick had six cattle, six sheep, and four acres of land. Moses had one acre of land and no livestock.

Another list included the dates of arrival, names of the settlers, where they came from, and where they settled.

It confirms that Patrick Gowen came in 1762 from “Skatawa River” [Piscataqua River] and settled on Gowen’s Point, Chebogue. He was the only settler from that area or, in fact, from anywhere in Maine or New Hampshire.

The first census returns for Yarmouth County were in 1773. It includes Patrick Gowen as 1 man total.

Perhaps because of the remoteness of this new foreign land Patrick Gowen died in Nova Scotia, on March 5, 1776. He and his wife, Miriam, are buried on their own land, in the Gowen Family Burial Ground on Chebogue Point, Yarmouth.

Why did Patrick and his wife and son make this move? One reason, perhaps, is that his brother, Capt. James Gowen, received the bulk of his father’s farm. James was also a war hero, destined for bigger and better things. Even while he was at war in New York and Canada, James found time to take care of political and business matters back home.

And maybe, just maybe, Patrick was like so many other early settlers, he may have developed itchy feet to move on to something different, challenging, and new. He chose his destiny, unlike his grandfather, the young Scot POW William Gowen, who had had so little say in his.

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