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Great-Grandparents: Wood-Wood | Our Prairie Nest
Great-Grandparents: The Wood-Wood Side

After almost 30 years of pursuing genealogy and family history, I’ve had to make many revisions. This is the result of both traditional research and NPEs identified through DNA testing. I thought I would review five or six generations of my ancestors and discuss what has changed and what I’ve learned as a result.

My parents, sister, and I are all from Plymouth County, Massachusetts. All four of my grandparents were born in Plymouth County. When we get to my great-grandparents, things branch out a little bit, though still remain in New England other than one recently-discovered great-grandfather who was born in Italy. So let’s start looking at my family with this generation! After this, I’ll share a series of posts looking both my ex-husband’s and husband’s ancestors, as well.

Lewis Preston Wood & Ruth Evelyn Wood

I knew my paternal great-grandparents, but since my great-grandpa Wood passed away when I was only 6 and my great-grandma Wood developed dementia before I was a teenager, I didn’t have as much time with them as I would have liked. As I grew up, I learned more about them, but I wish I could have gotten stories from them.

Wood Family of Blue Hill, Maine

Lewis was born 15 February 1892 in Boston. His parents were Lemuel Augustus Wood and Georgianna Winsor. Lemuel was the son of Benjamin Stone Wood and Susanna Whitmore, of Blue Hill, Maine. We descend from Joseph Wood, one of the founders of Blue Hill. My father didn’t have sons to pass down the Wood name, but he has many paternal male cousins. I’m currently working on deeper research into our gateway ancestor, Anthony Wood, who came from England to Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts before 1668.

William Winsor of Duxbury, Massachusetts & Port Angeles, Washington

Georgianna was the daughter of William W. Winsor and Elizabeth Ann Church Simmons. William was from the Winsor family in Duxbury, Massachusetts, while Elizabeth comes from the Simmons family of Little Compton, Rhode Island. The Simmons family of Rhode Island is easy to trace back to the 1600s, as are the other Rhode Island and Massachusetts families that married into it over the years.

I’ve been particularly fascinated with William and his mother for a while. William left his wife and three daughters sometime before 1860 and was one of the first settlers of Port Angeles, Washington with Rufus Holmes, another native of Duxbury. Rufus returned to Massachusetts, but William remained in the Pacific Northwest, meandering between Washington and Victoria, British Columbia. I don’t know where he disappeared to after 1867, when he was mentioned in a court case for debt collection that was filed against him in Jefferson County, Washington. I hope to obtain the documents from that case to learn more about him.

Howett Family of Tyrrell County, North Carolina

Meanwhile, William’s mother was Martha “Patsy” Howett and learning about her several years ago opened up an unexpected area of research for me. At the time, I didn’t know I had southern ancestors – as far as I knew, I was “all Yankee” with some Italian in there.

I soon learned that Martha was born in Tyrrell County, North Carolina. The deeper I dug, the more I learned about her old tidewater-area ancestry in Tyrrell and Perquimans Counties. Her mother was Lydia Sanderson, a granddaughter of Major Richard Sanderson, who possessed a considerable estate.

Martha’s father, Richard Howett, had at least 19 people enslaved at one point, and trying to discover both the history of their plantation and what became of those people has become an important project for me. Researching southern ancestors is, of course, very different than researching New England families. There are fewer vital records and we need to rely more on land transactions and probate files. Trying to bridge the gap between people who were enslaved in the early to mid-1800s and the years after Emancipation is a new challenge that I’m attempting to navigate.

Wood Family of Manchester, England

My great-grandmother, Ruth Evelyn Wood, was born 39 July 1898 in Pawtucket, Providence, Rhode Island. No, she and my great-grandfather (her husband) were not related. Her parents were John William Wood and Lulu Gertrude Lyman. Ruth’s father came to Willimantic, Connecticut with his parents, Thomas Wood and Sarah Ann Gray. They had lived in the Ancoats district of Manchester, England before emigrating to the United States.

Such common English names have posed research challenges for me, of course. One of the first records I ever requested from England was the marriage of Thomas and Sarah, which named their fathers. But, more than that, it gave me occupations for the fathers. You don’t realize how important knowing an occupation is until you’re trying to figure out which Thomas Wood and which John Wood and which William Gray you should be looking at in British censuses! It truly helps to have that additional identifier when you’re working with these kinds of names.

Thomas Wood’s parents were John Wood and Ann Siddall. Sarah Ann Gray’s parents were William Gray and Ann Jane Mason. Researching Thomas’s siblings has been difficult, however I’ve had no problem finding Sarah’s siblings, their marriages, their children, and even their grandchildren! Most remained in England, however at least one came to the United States and has living children here. We aren’t closely related – these are 3rd cousins, twice removed living in both the United States and England – but I may reach out to them and say hello, and see if we can connect.

Lyman and Barrows of Tolland County, Connecticut

On my great-grandmother’s mother’s side, we return to old New England families. The Lyman, Chapman, Barrows, and Gurley families of Tolland County, with some connections to Windham County, as well, go back to the early days of Connecticut. My great-grandmother’s mother, Lulu, had an interesting upbringing. Lulu’s parents were William C. Lyman and Martha M. Barrows. William served in the Civil War and then was part of the GAR. The family lived in New York City in 1870 and Kansas in 1880, before returning to Connecticut.

From what I understand, these moves had to do with their son, Frank, who was deaf. This allowed him to attend special schools, but I’m sure there is more to learn about Frank than I have ever delved into. He died in 1892, only 25-years-old, and I wonder if this was just bad luck or if he had other health challenges.

Lulu’s only other sibling was her sister, Bertha, who married Clifford Alpaugh on 27 May 1902. Bertha and Clifford never had children and are buried with Clifford’s parents in Windham, Connecticut.

As you can see, my paternal side has a few questions I would like to answer and people whose lives I would like to learn more about, if possible. The only thing about my Wood side that has changed from the paper trail is a cousin discovery that, unfortunately, no one seems ready to discuss. I hold out hope that, maybe someday, that DNA discovery is something the people involved will be able to reconcile in a healthy way.

Civil War Pension Files | Our Prairie Nest
Civil War Pension Files

You’ve probably heard of Civil War (and other military) Pension Files, but maybe you haven’t ordered one yet. They’re costly, perhaps out of reach for some people, which can make obtaining them difficult. However, if you are able to order one, they can be valuable sources of information. Here’s an example:

Samuel Hawksley was born about 1847 in Richmond, Carleton County, New Brunswick.  He died 6 February 1865 at Hatcher’s Run in Virginia. Samuel never married or had children.

His parents, John Goodwin Hawksley and Lucy Lilley, filed for a pension for his Civil War service on 27 March 1877. Because Samuel was unmarried and without children, any documentation in the file should center around him – perhaps I would find his actual date of birth – and his parents.

At least, that’s what I surmised. John and Lucy would have to submit documentation proving they were his parents. Perhaps it would give me more clues regarding John’s background, since he was a brick wall. Perhaps not. As you know, you can leave no stone unturned when dealing with a brick wall. Because Samuel’s parents would have been the ones submitting information and documentation to obtain his pension, these are firsthand documents created by or for them.

The pension file was incredibly useful, because while it didn’t give me the names of John Goodwin Hawksley’s parents, it did verify the marriage date for him and his wife, Lucy Thomas Lilley, as well as the birth dates of their children. In a few instances, we only had approximations. It also verified the death of Lucy T. Hawksley and the marriage of their first daughter.

At the time when I received the file several years ago, nobody seemed to know who Isabel Hawksley, the eldest daughter and child of John and Lucy, had married. The file told me that her husband’s name was Charles Staples Boothby of Saco, Maine. They went to Newton, Massachusetts, which was good news for me, as I found the records of births and marriage on their children, as well as Isabel (Hawksley) Boothby’s death, via NEHGS.

Meanwhile, I learned other interesting information about John Goodwin Hawksley himself that gave me a better understanding of the family history.

He is my ex-husband’s 3rd great-grandfather. In September of 1861, a tree fell on his leg, breaking the leg below the knee and making him lame. He had to use a cane for the rest of his life, and was unable to work the family lands. They were too poor to get a doctor to set the leg, so it healed, but not well.

He relied on his unmarried teenaged son, Samuel, to do the work. Then Samuel enlisted with the Army in 1864, hoping to be able to send money to his family. But he was lost after going missing in action during the battle at Hatcher’s Run, Virginia.

When the family had not heard from him for 12 years, they filed for the pension in 1877 as dependent parents. Lucy died in 1880, so John then requested the pension be transferred to him, and it was paid until his death in 1893.

My ex-husband’s great-great grandpa, William Roger Hawksley, was “legally bound” to support his father from 1880 to March 1881, and the affidavits say that John and Lucy Hawksley survived thanks to their children’s generosity, and Samuel’s work on their home and lands, before he went to war at the age of 17.

So it was interesting stuff.  While it didn’t give me anything further on Hawksley ancestors, it told more of the story of John Goodwin Hawksley’s and his family’s lives.

The Wood Family of Blue Hill | Our Prairie Nest
The Wood Family of Blue Hill, Maine

The first aspect of family history I heard about as a child was that my paternal ancestors founded the town of Blue Hill, Hancock County, Maine. As the story goes, Joseph Wood (my ancestor) and John Roundy left Massachusetts in 1762 to explore what would ultimately become Maine. They created the town of Blue Hill out of the wilderness.

A long line of my paternal grandparents lived in Blue Hill, starting with Joseph (b. 15 Feb 1720, Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts; d. 20 Jun 1813, Blue Hill) and his wife, Ruth Haskell (b. 16 Nov 1721, Beverly; d. 6 Apr 1814, Blue Hill). They had Joseph Wood (b. 27 Dec 1750, Beverly; d. 18 Dec 1811, Blue Hill), who married Eleanor Carter (b. 19 Oct 1757, Harpswell, Cumberland, Maine; d. 5 Apr 1806, Blue Hill) on 11 Sept 1776 in Blue Hill.

Joseph and Eleanor had Andrew Wood (1786-1850) who married Hannah Ober (1787-1830). Their son, Benjamin Stone (sometimes listed as Stover) Wood (1826-1881), married Susan Whitmore (1828-1861), thus adding extensively to my dozens of Mayflower lines.

Their son, Lemuel Augustus Wood (b. 1845 and pictured at the start of this post), is my great-great grandfather. Lemuel married Susan Pickering in 1867, but she passed away in 1879 in Boston, Massachusetts. Lemuel was the last of my ancestors born in Blue Hill, and he and Susan didn’t appear to have any children. If they did, none of them lived to adulthood.

Lemuel then married my great-great grandma, Georgianna Winsor in 1884 (more Mayflower through there; maybe someday I will post about how my parents, all 4 of my grandparents, and most of my 8 great-grandparents are related to one another).

Georgianna was probably considered an old maid by then at the age of 33 (she was born in 1851). They had one daughter, who was born and died the same day. And then they had my dear great-grandpa Lewis Preston Wood in 1892 in Boston. My beloved great-grandpa passed away when I was 6, but I remember him very well.

Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma Wood (her maiden name was also Wood, but no relation) had 8 children. My grandfather, Vincent Wood, was the third-born, but the first to pass away in 1995. Grandpa, of course, gave me my dad, and here I am.