11 January 2018

Ardelle Barbadoes Roberson

Eileen and Ardelle Wanso (later Roberson). circa 1901 in Worcester, MA
William Bullard, Mrs. Ardel C. Wanso and her daughter Eileen, courtesy of Frank Morrill, the Worcester Art Museum, and Clark University.

Ardelle was born on 30 April 1868 in Boston, MA. She married William Gloster Wanso (1872-1905) on 23 December 1897 in Worcester, MA. The couple had one child, Eileen Wanso (also recorded as Arlene Roberson), who was born about 1899. The couple divorced and William moved to Philadelphia where he later died in 1905. 

Ardelle then married John Roberson on 8 November 1901 in Clinton, MA. Their son, Ralph Roberson, married Nipmuc Julia Almira Hazzard. 

Ardelle was the granddaughter of well-known community leader and abolitionist, James George Barbadoes. James was one of the founders of the Massachusetts General Colored Association and supported William Lloyd Garrison in the founding of the New England Antislavery Society. In 1833, Barbadoes traveled to Philadelphia  as a delegate to the 1st Annual Convention of Free People of Color. The American Antislavery Society, with Garrison as its head, was formed as a result of this convention and its delegates.

The last record I have of Ardelle is the 1920 Federal Census for Worcester, MA where she is listed as the head of her household with daughters Arlene and Millie Roberson and son Ralph Roberson.

11 December 2017

Sarah (Scott) Shepard

Florence Shepard, Sarah Scott Shepard, and Eugene Shepard, Jr. circa 1900 in Worcester, MA
William Bullard, Mrs. Shepard and Two Children, about 1900, courtesy of Frank Morrill, the Worcester Art Museum, and Clark University.
Sarah Ann Scott is my 3rd great-aunt. She was the daughter of Edward Scott and Catherine Annie Jackson of Warrenton, VA. You can read more about Sarah's parents and her younger brother, Charles, here and about her older sister, Mary Jane, here.

Sarah was born on 7 Oct 1864 in West Boylston, MA - the 2nd Scott child to be born free in Massachusetts. On 30 Nov 1893, she married Nipmuc Eugene James Shepard in Sturbridge, MA. Eugene was the son of Jeremiah Shepard and Harriet White, a member of the Dorus/White Nipmuc clan from the Sturbridge area. Sarah and Eugene had two children, Florence May and Eugene, Jr.
William Bullard, Eugene Shepard, about 1900, courtesy of Frank Morrill, the Worcester Art Museum, and Clark University.
The couple lived in Worcester for the entirety of their marriage. Eugene worked a variety of jobs from polisher at a car wash on Park Ave to a janitor in a theater to a molder at a foundry. Sarah worked as a housekeeper in a private household. Eugene died on 18 Nov 1925 and Sarah continued living in Worcester with her adult children (and for a short while her sister Mary Ann) until she herself passed away sometime after 1949. There is no record of her death in Worcester. It is possible that she moved with her son Eugene Jr. to Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Florence May Shepard was born on 28 Jul 1895 in Worcester. In 1920, she married Mashpee Wampanoag Julian Arthur Piper who was a private in WWI. The Pipers quickly divorced and Florence continued to live in Worcester with her mother and Eugene who was also divorced. Florence worked as a laundress and for a time, served as the secretary of the Hassanamisco Club, an organization founded by Sarah Cisco for Nipmuc tribal members.

Eugene, Jr. was born in Worcester on 4 Feb 1897. He married Alma Eva Nixon, a native of Springfield, Massachusetts in 1921 after serving in WWI. The couple's only child, Eugene III was born on 19 Jul 1923. Eugene Jr. and Alma were divorced by 1935 and Eugene moved in with his mother and sister. He eventually moved to Holyoke where he passed away on 24 Jul 1981. Alma lived in the Beaver Brook neighborhood with Eugene III until she moved with him to Leominster, Massachusetts where she passed on 31 Jul 1995.

04 December 2017

Mary Jane (Scott) Smith and James Martin Smith

Mary Jane (Scott) Smith and her son, James Martin Smith.
 William Bullard, Mary Jane and James Martin Smith, about 1900, courtesy of Frank Morrill and Clark University.

Mary Jane Scott was born on 13 Nov 1862 in West Boylston to Edward W. Scott and Catherine Annie Jackson. Edward and Catherine were former slaves who traveled from their birthplace in Warrenton, VA to Massachusetts with Methodist missionaries. You can read a bit more about the Scott family here.

Mary Jane married James D. Smith in Worcester, MA on 20 Dec 1888. Their son, James Martin Smith was born in Worcester on 13 Jan 1890. Husband James disappears from Worcester records by 1900. The 1900 census lists Mary Jane, her son, (James) Martin, and a cousin, William Jackson all living at 70 John St. By this time, Mary Jane was working as a laundress. By 1910, her younger brother Walter Scott and sister-in-law, Gertrude Smith had joined the Smith household above the Kennedy family at 17 Orchard St.

James Martin Smith married Fannie Virginia Harris on 22 Dec 1914 in Worcester and died nearly four years later on 4 Oct 1918. Their son, Thomas Smith, born 12 Aug 1918, married Bernice Dorothy Wilson, the daughter of Leslie Wilson and Lena Jackson. Thomas and Bernice's daughter, Rheta Virginia Smith, was born 15 Aug 1938. In 1940, family resided with the Jacksons at 67 Mason St.

05 June 2016

A Virtual High-Five

I recently received an email from a Courtney Phillips who mentors a group of youngsters in her area. She said that they had visited my PastTense Genealogy website, checked out the resources, and wanted to give me a "High Five" for the resources I included on the site.

She then suggested I add this site to my list of resources - "History at Home - A Guide to Genealogy.

So thanks for the suggestion Courtney and class!! And a "High Five" right back to you for working on your own family history!


31 March 2016

The #mycolorfulancestry Craze

It seems like every genealogist on Facebook posted their version of the colorful Excel chart developed by Geneaspy blogger, J Paul Hawthorne. So without further ado, here's my 5-generation Excel chart showing the birthplaces of myself and my ancestors. As you can see, I am a New Englander.

And here's a 6-generation chart which shows a little bit of variation.


28 November 2015

The Storms of Vermont, Part 2 - Susannah Storm's Probate Record

Susannah Storms was the eldest child of Primus and Parmelia. She was born in 1788 in Fishkill, NY to a slave mother and free father. The family traveled to Basin Harbor, Vermont with Platt Rogers, mother Parmelia's owner.

The Storms became one of the many free, land-owning Black families in Vermont. When Susannah died unmarried on 16 September 1845, she left her 54 acre "Home Farm" to her family. Her father, Primus and her brother Joseph had already passed on so Susannah's estate was divided eight ways. Her mother and six living sibling each received 1/8 share of the land. The five children of her brother Joseph each received 1/5 of the last eighth of land. Below is the surveyor's rendering of the division.

Susannah never married but she did leave records of her life. She lived for many years with a Quaker family in Ferrisburgh - siblings Joseph and Mary Rogers. Mary kept a diary and wrote often about Susannah according to Rokeby Musuem's Jane Williamson. Jane authored the article "African-Americans in Addison County, Charlotte, and Hinesburg, VT 1790-1860."

According to that article and church records, Susannah was a member of the local Baptist church in Panton and had at one point leased land for the Stone School in Panton. Her probate records reference the Stone School as a boundary point but does not show any of her heirs receiving it. Perhaps she had sold or given the land to the town prior to her death. Or the town may have held on to the parcel since the town's school was built upon it.

Susannah was buried next to her father in the Basin Harbor cemetery. Today her stone is broken and placed upside down in the ground - which I intend to repair the next time I visit.

I hope to visit Rokeby Museum and read Mary Rogers' diaries myself to see her thoughts about my 5th great aunt. I'll let you know what I find out!


01 August 2015

Hassanamisco Indian Fair

A friend and I - Photo by Stacey Tufts
We celebrated our 92nd Annual powwow this past Sunday. The Creator gave us glorious weather and a great crowd. Here are a few photos from the event. All the below photos were taken by Dave TallPine.

The Elders