Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Our Fickett Families: Scarborough to Woodstock

  • Seventeenth century English Maine was settled primarily through the speculation of English investors and merchants sending planters and fishermen. Our own immigrant James Nute was a member of the Captain Mason party of planters to settle Dover, New Hampshire, as one of these enterprises. So, too, were the Ficketts and Libbys and Balls of our coastal Maine families who came as fishermen, became shipwrights and mariners, and eventually moved inland to become farmers.

Christopher Fickett 

Maine coastal waters were rich fishing grounds and temporary fishing huts gave way to permanent settlements in the area in the 1630’s. According to an early Scarborough histories, Christopher Fickett was living at Black Point, Scarborough, Maine in 1652, likely engaged in fishing and trading with local Native Americans. Black Point Neck in Scarborough was one place to dry fish, and here Christopher’s acquisition of 100 acres indicates he may also have been a planter. 

Scarborough, including Black Point, was incorporated as a town by Massachusetts in 1658, when it had about 50 homes, and Christopher’s would have been one. Given the salt marsh landscape, the town didn’t develop around a town center.

Both Christopher and his son, John, were listed as inhabitants of Black Point prior to the Indian War of 1675. Nothing else is known of his immigration, wife, or other children.

John Fickett (1645-1730)

John’s birth is calculated from an estimate that he was 25 years old in August 1670. He married Abigail Libby, daughter of John Libby of Scarborough, in 1670 according to Torrey. Abigail was not named in the 1883 Libby Family of America, although the author and family historian noted John Libby might have had a couple unnamed daughters. In the 1928 Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, the same author acknowledges Abigail as a daughter of the Scarsborough John Libby.

John Fickett was a Black Point farmer and fisherman whose home was destroyed in the 1675-76 Indian wars. He retreated to Portsmouth with other Black Point residents, returning to Scarborough in 1677 after Massachusetts militia were sent to secure the settlement. A garrison was built at Black Point in 1681, but increased Indian raids in 1689-1690 led to residents abandoning the town. The town did not again have organized government until 1720 although small groups returned earlier.

John Libby was born about 1602 in England, possibly in the Cornwall area, and died in Black Point, Scarborough, in 1682. A frequently reported age of 80 years old at time of death gave rise to the 1602 date, but a date closer to 1614 would be more reasonable as he started a family about 1636 just before coming to Maine. 
John came with the Plymouth (England) Company from County Kent to Richmond Island off the southern coast of Cape Elizabeth to work a fishery for English merchant Robert Trelawney. He arrived on the Hercules in 1636 under contract for three years service which expired in 1639. Once his contract was up, he settled onshore and sent for his family to join him, likely making his living as a fisherman. By 1663, he acquired 200 acres and built a homestead just inland at Black Point on Libby’s River in Scarborough, a planter and “a man of considerable wealth.” John lost all but his land in King Phillips’ War of 1675-76. His house and the dwellings of his sons were burned and cattle shot. The family took shelter in the Black Point garrison and shortly after evacuated to Boston along with others of the area. 
Two sons died in the 1675-76 Indian war while stationed in defense of the Black Point garrison - James was killed and Samuel ill was removed to his parents in Boston where he died in July 1677. John petitioned the Massachusetts governor in 1677 for the release of two other soldier sons - Henry and Anthony - from defense of the garrison, saying he depended on them for support. Exaggeration of his age in the petition seeking sympathy may have led to the earlier birth date. The Libby family returned to Scarborough by 1681 when John Sr. and sons John Jr., Henry, and Anthony are on the tax list.
 Aside from the two sons who died defending the garrison, John had at least 12 children with two wives; the first is unknown, mother of the first 10 children, and she died before 1663; the second named Mary who bore two more children. Our Abigail Libby was born to the first wife.
 The Libby Farm is now in Scarborough Land Trust and open for hiking.
John and Abigail had only three children, a small family for the time. Their kids grew up and married in the vicinity of Portsmouth.

Children of John Fickett and Abigail Libby:
  • John Jr. m. Susannah Ball of Portsmouth, NH
  • Rebecca m. Henry Guy of Marblehead, MA
  • Mary m., Samuel Snell of Portsmouth, NH
John Fickett, Jr. (1675-1730)

The only son of John and Abigail, 7th GGF John Fickett, Jr. married Susannah Ball, daughter of a fisherman, before 1700 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, or Kittery, Maine; no records of the marriage are available.

Susannah’s father, 8th GGF Peter Ball (1645-1725), a fisherman, bought 20 acres in Portsmouth in 1672, the same year he married Margaret Jackson. He signed a petition of inhabitants to Massachusetts in 1689 to set up a temporary government in Portsmouth.
John’s first record is 1703 when he witnessed a note and later when he bought land in 1708. John Fickett from Portsmouth, whether John I or John II, signed a petition to Massachusetts from “we four poor towns daily exposed from French and Indian enemies” asking for “equal privileges with Massachusetts.” 

Otherwise, John Jr. left a small record footprint in history. Of his six children, he had only two sons  - Thomas and John III.  A deed transfer of their grandfather’s land between the brothers dated 1731 shows the boys living in Kittery and Portsmouth respectively.

Children of John II and Susannah Ball:
  • John Fickett, III, a tanner in Portsmouth, NH, inherited land in Scarborough from grandfather, John Fickett, Sr.
  • Thomas, a shipwright of Kittery in 1731 when he purchased his brother’s portion of land in Scarborough
  • Daughters: Margaret, Sarah, Abigail, and Rebecca
Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth
Thomas Fickett (1700-1787)

Leaving troubled Scarborough in 1690, the Fickett family found itself living on one of the world’s deepest harbors with Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on one side of the Piscataqua River Kittery, Maine, on the other. Portsmouth’s economy was growing based on shipbuilding, fishing, and trade. No wonder Thomas became a shipwright and founder of a ship building dynasty.

6th GGF Thomas Fickett was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1700. 

Thomas’ marriage to Mary Moulton is generally given as 1720 and his birthplace as Scarborough even though Thomas was living in Kittery until after 1731. Mary is a mystery given the frequency of her given name, no findable marriage record, or identification in town or family histories. 

Thomas inherited a portion of Libby lands in Scarborough. In 1731, he also bought out Scarborough land originally belonging to their grandfather, John Fickett Sr., from his brother and his Aunt Rebecca Guy from Marblehead.

The first record of Thomas in Scarborough is an appearance in the York Court of Common Pleas in 1734 when he presents as the defendant in a debt case. 

The next record shows Thomas’ admission to communion at the First Congregational Church of Scarborough along with “Mehetable, daughter of Thomas and Mary Fickett" on July 18, 1736, and two weeks later “John, Mary, Benjamin, children of Thomas and Mary Fickett.” Nowhere in the church record is mentioned Thomas’s wife, Mary, being admitted to the church. The church was established in 1728 with admission and baptism records extending back to 1730.

Another mystery: First child, John, has a birth date listed in the Ficketts of Cape Elizabeth as 1722 in Kittery, but the next child listed is Mary in 1736, followed by another eight children until 1754, childbearing totaling 32 years. It seems more reasonable that Thomas had a first wife who had John, and a second wife, likely Mary Moulton, in the 1730’s who had the next nine children.

Thomas moved the family to Cape Elizabeth about 1737 after exchanging his part of the Scarborough land for Barren Hill in Cape Elizabeth. He was involved in the York Court of Common Pleas in Falmouth (Portland) in 1752, 1757, and 1758 for debt cases, and was on roll call for training soldiers in Falmouth in 1757.

All of Thomas and Mary’s sons and a number of grandsons served in the American Revolution, including Valley Forge, the ill-fated Penobscot Expedition, and the burning of Falmouth. Available information indicates the boys signed for three years in the Continental Army.

Three of Thomas’ sons  - John, Benjamin, and Jonathan - became shipwrights like their father. Jonathan’s son, Samuel, and Samuel’s nephew, Francis Fickett, moved to New York after the War of 1812 devastated their Portland shipbuilding business, and were builders of the SS Savannah, the first Trans-Atlantic steamship in 1818.
Thomas died in Cape Elizabeth in 1787.
Benjamin Fickett (1737-after 1812)

5th GGF Benjamin Fickett was baptized at First Church of Scarborough on September 25, 1737. The Benjamin Fickett, baptized in 1736 with the rest of the Fickett children died and our Benjamin Fickett was born to the Thomas Fickett and Mary family soon after. His family moved to Cape Elizabeth when he was young, perhaps in 1737. 
Gorham, Scarborough, Portland, and Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Two Benjamin Fickett’s lived in Cape Elizabeth/Falmouth during the mid-1700’s. Our Benjamin, son of Thomas, was born in 1737, became a shipwright, married Sarah Sawyer and lived in Cape Elizabeth/Stroudwater until about 1795 when he purchased land and moved to Gorham, Maine. The other Benjamin, nephew of our Benjamin, was born in 1750 in Cape Elizabeth, a farmer/wheelwright, married Deborah Sawyer, and lived in Cape Elizabeth.

Benjamin married 5th GGM Sarah Sawyer in February 1760 and they started a family soon after - eight children in all, including five sons. 
The Sawyer family were early settlers of Falmouth (later Portland) and there are no clear records identifying this Sarah’s parents. Ficketts of Cape Elizabeth, however, states Sarah’s parents are Isaac Sawyer and Sarah Brackett.
Benjamin was a Captain of Cumberland County militia in the American Revolution, at the time nearly 40 years old.

After a full career as a shipwright, Benjamin and his son Moses purchased 70 acres and a homestead in Gorham, Maine, in 1795. His sister, Mary, was already living in Gorham with her husband, Charles Patrick, a plasterer. We don’t have a death date for wife Sarah, but she was deceased by1804 when Benjamin married widow Hannah Roberts Parker in Gorham. Benjamin’s Gorham house burned in 1802.

Benjamin's death is not located in Gorham town records or histories, but Gorham death records at that time were sparse. His last record was on a quitclaim deed with son Moses in 1812 for the property in Gorham. His second wife lived until 1833, so it is unlikely -as some have reported - that he joined his other sons in Harrington. 

Sarah died sometime between the birth of her last child in 1775 and Benjamin’s remarriage in 1804. Given the size of the family, Sarah was probably around to raise the children or Benjamin would have remarried earlier. Very likely her death was close to the time Benjamin relocated to Gorham where he had a sister and three adult children, Mary, Ezra, and Moses; the move may have been precipitated by the loss of his wife.

Benjamin and Sarah's family were born in Cape Elizabeth, but scattered over the years:
  • Zebulon (1759-1854) enlisted in the American Revolution at age 16 and was on the disastrous Penobscot Expedition. He married first cousin Sarah Fickett in 1780 and moved the family from Falmouth to Plantation No. 5, later to become Harrington, Maine, in 1789, and set off to form Milbridge in 1848. Early Harrington’s industry was harvesting Maine timber and shipbuilding to transport lumber, and the Ficketts were in the thick of it. Zebulon received a Revolutionary Pension in 1832. 
  • Jonathan (1761-1850) married Judith Cox in Cape Elizabeth in 1788, and they moved the same year to Poland, Maine.
  • Abigail (1762-1839) married first cousin and Quaker minister William Fickett, brother to Zebulon’s wife, and lived in South Portland.
  • Moses (1766-1863) bought a 70-acre homestead with his father in Gorham, Maine, in 1796, but moved to Harrington/Milbridge by 1823. He had a store, M. Fickett & Co. in Harrington and seemed more civically involved than most of the family, serving town posts of treasurer and town clerk for several years. The Fickett families lived on the east side of Narraguaguis River where today there is a Fickett Point, Fickett Wharf, and Fickett Point Road not far from the 1A.
  • Benjamin Jr. (1767-1851) was a shipwright who settled in Portland.
  • Nathaniel (1771- ) may have remained in Cape Elizabeth, but little information can be found on him. He appears to be on the 1810 Cape Elizabeth census.
  • Ezra (1773-1855) married in Gorham in 1796 - around the same time Moses and Benjamin, Sr. bought land in the area - but moved to Poland, Maine at an unknown date. He was living in Poland by 1845 when his first wife died.
  • Sally (1775- ) married Charles Smith, a blacksmith from Gorham, so likely she moved away from Cape Elizabeth with her father and brother, Moses.
Ficketts on the 1798 tax list for Gorham, Maine, were Jonathan, Samuel, Asa, and two Benjamins.

Thus, the family spread like seeds to the wind, landing in Milbridge, Gorham, Poland, and Portland.

Revolution service for Captain Benjamin Fickett of Cape Elizabeth:

Three Benjamin Ficketts were living in Cape Elizabeth during the Revolution - Benjamin, Sr. (1737 - 1820), son Benjamin Jr. (1767-1851), and nephew Benjamin, Jr. (1750 - ), son of John. Two Benjamin Ficketts are listed by Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the American Revolution. 

Benjamin's son can be excluded as the Revolution soldier due to his age. One of the two remaining Benjamins was a Captain of the 8th Company, 1st Cumberland Regiment of Mass. militia; the second, a corporal who served building a fort on Falmouth neck and belonged to a company stationed on the seacoast at Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough. Of these, the senior Benjamin is more likely to be the Captain. Further, Maine Families in 1790 identifies Benjamin Jr., husband of Deborah Sawyer, as the corporal.

Jonathan Fickett (abt 1761-1850)

4th GGF Jonathan Fickett was born in Cape Elizabeth, the second of Benjamin and Sarah’s children.  Twenty seven year-old Jonathan was residing in Falmouth when he married 23 year-old Judith Cox (1764-abt 1804) from Cape Elizabeth in January 1788. Poland birth records show the first child born there in 1788.

Judith was the seventh of 14 children born to mariner 5th GGF Ebenezer Cox (Beverly, MA 1728-Bristol, ME 1795) and his second wife, 5th GGM Lydia Woodbury ( -1775 Bristol, ME) of Falmouth. Her brother, Israel, was a master mariner and soldier in the Revolution. Four of her siblings were twins.

Within the year, Jonathan and Judith moved to Poland where their first child, Charlotte, was born in December 1788. They had another three children over the next 8 years, Woodbury, Betsey, and Salley. Jonathan built a log house on White Oak Hill, Poland, in 1797, the first settler on the hill. He was received by baptism in 1798 at the First Free Will Baptist Church in Poland in 1798. He and Judith had another two children before she died. 

Children with Judith Cox:
  • Charlote Fickett (1788-1854), born and died in Poland, married Zenas Briggs, farmer, brother of Luther Briggs in Paris and Lucy Briggs who married Samuel Bryant in Woodstock.
  • Woodbury Fickett (1791-1862), War of 1812 veteran, named after Judith’s mother, Lydia Woodbury.
  • Betsey Fickett, our 3rd GGM, married Samuel Nute (1792-1855) in Woodstock.
  • Salley Fickett (1796- ), nothing more than birth record located.
  • Simon Fickett (1799-1856), married Ruth Chase, “an enterprising and industrious citizen” who lived in Curtis neighborhood and moved across the line to Paris, according to History of Woodstock. He drowned in Little Angroscoggin River in West Paris.
  • Judith Fickett (1802-1874) married Thomas J. Dunbar, shoemaker from Poland, moved to Springfield, MA.
No death information is available on Jonathan’s first wife, Judith, but she would have died at about age 38 years between the birth of her last child in 1802 and Jonathan’s marriage to 35 year-old 5th GGM Betsey Bryant, widow of Peter Brooks, in 1804.

Jonathan had two more children with Betsey Bryant Brooks:
  • Joanna Fickett (1805-1869) born in Poland, married John Herrick, a farmer from Poland. She must have had a hard life as 1840-1860 censuses show 10-16 people and three generations living in their household.
  • Jonathan Fickett, Jr. (1810- after 1850, died young), farmer, married Betsey Fuller.
Jonathan Sr. and Betsey moved to Woodstock by 1810 where his eighth child, Jonathan Jr., was born.

In June 1814, for “five dollars in hand,” Jonathan and wife Betsey (Bryant Brooks) Fickett sold 25 acres in Poland formerly owned by Peter Brooks to Seth Hilborn, except for a 10 rod square “at the place where the said Peter Brooks and others are buried.” Presumably, this the cemetery now known as Cousens Cemetery.

Jonathan’s occupation was identified as “yeoman” when he sold 30 acres of his Poland land in 1816 to Alexander Thurston; he purchased another 30 acre farm in Poland the same year. This would be the year New England had “no summer," instead experiencing snow in June, a hard frost every month, crop failures, drought, and wildfires.

The family moved from Poland to Woodstock in 1818 and settled “on what has been known as the Nute farm.”
2016 photo of hilltop meadow "the Nute farm" where Jonathan and Betsey lived
A 30 acre farm in Poland belonging to Jonathan Fickett was sold at public auction in 1819 for failure to pay taxes.

Jonathan was chosen by Woodstock townspeople as a “tithing man” in 1818. Among a tithingman’s duties are enforcing church rules, keeping order in church, and policing people who should be in church. In early days, the tithingman had a long pole to poke people who fell asleep during the sermon!

Jonathan and Betsey are believed buried in the Nute-Stevens cemetery in Woodstock in unmarked graves.

Betsey Fickett (1794-1826)

3rd GGM Betsey Fickett was born in Poland, Maine, the third of Jonathan and Judith’s four children. She was nine years old when her mother died, and 11 when father remarried to Betsey Bryant Brooksdaughter of Solomon Bryant and second wife of Peter Brooks. 

Betsey married Samuel Nute (1792-1855) in Poland in 1816, the year of dreadful weather, and their first two children were born there. Betsey and Samuel moved to Woodstock in 1820, relatively latecomers. 

Betsey had four children, spaced regularly every two years before her early death at age 32 in Woodstock, even younger than her mother at death. The second child of Betsey and Samuel was our 2nd GGF Orsamus Nute, only six years old when his mother died.

Children of Betsey and Samuel Nute:
  • Harriet Nute (1818-1899) m. step-cousin Charles Brooks Davis, son of our 4th GGPS Aaron Davis, Jr., and Lucinda Oraing Brooks. The couple had at least five children and were living in Woodstock until the 1870’s. By 1880, they were both living in Paris with an adult daughter. Charles died in Paris in 1889 age 63, and Harriet in Lancaster, MA, in 1899 with senile debility and la grippe, age 80. She is interred in South Paris with Charles.
  • Orsamus Nute (1820-1907) m. Lovina Dunn Davis, granddaughter of Aaron and Lucinda.
  • Phebe Wentworth Nute (1822-1875), born in Woodstock, m. Asa Smith, farmer, and the couple resided in Woodstock in their early years. In the 1850 census, Phebe’s aunt and uncle, Zenas Briggs and Charlotte Fickett, are living with the Smith family. By 1870, Phebe and Asa had moved to Malden, MA, where Asa was working as a street waterer. Malden is about five miles north of downtown Boston where brother-in-law Orsamus moved and set up street sprinkling as a first business when he left Woodstock in 1864. Asa died in 1871 with heart disease, age 53, and Phebe died in 1875 with tuberculosis, age 52.
  • Mary Jane Nute (1824-1904) m. Eleazer Cole Billings in Woodstock, farmer. Mary Jane died in 1904 in Woodstock with breast cancer, age 79.
After Betsey’s early death, Samuel remarried to Polly Davis, half sister of his son-in-law Charles Brooks Davis, and daughter of our 5th GGP’s Aaron Davis and Thankful Strout.

Samuel Nute, his two wives Betsey Fickett and Polly Davis; Polly’s brother, Aaron Davis, Jr. and his wife Lucinda Oraing Brooks; Orsamus and his two wives, Emma Stephens and Lovina Dunn Davis; and five of Orsamus’ children are buried in the Nute-Stevens cemetery in Woodstock.
Nute obelisk and headstones at Nute-Stevens cemetery, Woodstock, Maine
1.  Maine Genealogy Archives: First Church of Scarborough Admissions and Baptisms
2.  Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, V. 1 No. 4, 1884, p. 164  (bapt. of Benjamin, son of Thomas and Mary Fickett)
3.  Collections of the Maine Historical Society, V. 3, 1853, History of Scarborough, 1633 to 1783.
4.  Genealogy of Edward Small, p. 1336, (1775 sale by James Dyer to Benjamin Fickett, Barron Hill).
5.  The Libby Family in America, 1602-1881, Charles T. Libby, 1882
6.  Genealogical dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, Charles T. Libby, 1928
7.  New England Marriages prior to 1700, Torrey
8.  Massachusetts and Maine Families in the Ancestry of Walter Goodwin Davis. Vol. II. Gardner-Moses, 1996
9.  The Milbridge Register, 1905
11. 1816: The Year without a Summer. New England Historical Society. 
12. Massachusetts Soldiers & Sailors, vol 5, p. 642-6443.
13. History of Paris, Maine: From Its Settlement to 1880, WB Lapham, SP Maxim, 1884.
14. History of Woodstock, ME, with Family Sketches and an Appendix, WB Lapham, 1882.
15. History of Poland: embracing a period of over a century, HA Poole, 1890.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Woodstock: Our Brooks Families

Our Brooks story begins in Manchester, England, with the baptism of Thomas Brooks and the marriage of Thomas and Grace Cunliffe in the Manchester Cathedral in the late 1500’s, traverses Massachusetts, and ends with Lucinda Brooks in Woodstock, Maine, in the 1800’s. Indeed, we have many stories in this family.

Rindge NH - Ashburnham, MA - Harvard - Acton - Concord - Lincoln

                   Captain Thomas Brooks (1594-1667)
9th GGPs Capt. Thomas Brooks and Grace were married in the 15th c. Gothic Manchester Cathedral in England in 1617. They immigrated about 1631 to Saltonstall Plantation, known today as Watertown, Massachusetts, just outside Charlestown, now Boston.  Thomas was granted 20 acres of land and took the oath of freeman in Watertown in 1636. When the area of Concord was purchased from the Indians the same year, Thomas moved the family again, this time into the frontier about 12 miles northwest of Watertown and 20 miles northwest of Boston.

Thomas was among the first settlers in Concord where he acquired substantial land, took part in the important Indian fur trade, and was a blacksmith by trade. He and a son-in-law bought 400 acres in Medford among other land acquisitions. He was Captain of a Concord “trainband” company, a local militia for defense of the town. 

Along with the fur business, Thomas was appointed by the county of Middlesex “to sell wine of any sort and strong liquors to the Indians, as to their judgments shall seem most meet and necessary.” He was forbidden to give to any one Indian more than a pint of liquor at a time.

When Concord was divided into three “quarters” in 1654, Thomas had lands in both the South and East quarters.

Thomas and Grace had at least four children who grew to adulthood in Concord. Two of the children, Mary (1623) and Joshua (c. 1630), were born in England; another two, Caleb (c. 1632) and Gershom (c. 1634), were born in Watertown.

Grace died in 1664 and Thomas in 1667. Their burial site is unknown, but may be in the Old Hill Burying Ground where many of the original settlers of Concord were buried.

Deacon Joshua Brooks (c. 1630-before 1697)

At age 23, 8th GGF Joshua Brooks married 16 year-old Hannah Mason (1636-1695) from Watertown, Massachusetts. Joshua may have learned his tanner trade from his father-in-law, Captain Hugh Mason. As Thomas Brooks’ eldest son, Joshua had the benefit of receiving twice more of his father’s estate than his two brothers and brother-in-law, Thomas Wheeler. He was admitted as a freeman of Concord in 1652.
Hannah’s father, our 9th GGF Captain Hugh Mason (1605-1678), immigrated from Maldon, Essex, England, on the ship Francis in 1634 to become one of Watertown’s first settlers. He was a tanner by trade and a Captain of a volunteer foot company “for the purpose of reducing the Dutch at the Monhatoes unto obedience to the English Crown.” He is noted to be a man of fortitude as, at age 70, he led his company against attacking Indians “driving the enemy back to the western side of the river,” during King Phillip’s War. Hugh and his wife are buried in Watertown’s Arlington St. Cemetery.
As Captain in the Concord town militia, Joshua would have been involved in King Phillip’s War (1675-1676). A massacre at Concord Village occurred in 1675 when a band of Indian warriors raided Concord Village (now Littleton), killed two men and captured a girl. In retaliation, British militia rounded up a peaceful band of “praying” Indians living on the outskirts of Concord who had converted to Christianity, took the whole lot to Boston and locked them in a workhouse.

Hannah and Joshua had 11 children born in Concord.

At some point, Joshua and son-in-law Samuel Dakin joined the First Church in Dorchester, MA, some 30 miles distant from Concord. He deeded his Concord lands to his sons in 1695  and joined a small group of Puritan missionaries who journeyed to South Carolina the following year to set up a new town on the Ashley River, also named Dorchester. Missionary conversion may have been the prime purpose in the project, but the settlement also engaged in shipping deer skins and rice back to Boston. Indeed, the fur/skin trade may be what lured Joshua to the area. Unfortunately, Joshua died soon after undertaking this risky venture, either in South Carolina or aboard ship on the way back to Massachusetts. The British occupied the fort at Dorchester during the Revolution, then burnt it to the ground when they left in 1781. All that remains of Dorchester today is the old church tower, cemetery, and walls of the fort maintained by South Carolina as a state park.

Hannah died some time after 1695 when she participated in the transfer of Joshua’s property transfer to his sons before he left for South Carolina. Joshua’s death occurred sometime before August 1697 when his estate was probated in Concord. 

Ensign Daniel Brooks (1663-1733)

7th GGF Daniel Brooks was the third of Joshua’s seven sons and a beneficiary of his father’s deeded land before Joshua headed to South Carolina. Joshua married Anna Cooper Merriam in Concord in 1692. Anna’s parents were John Meriam and Mary Cooper.
 Our Meriam immigrant was Joseph, a clothier in Kent, England, who came to Charlestown (Boston) in 1638 and was among the first group of settlers in Concord the same year. He died within two years, and son John was born after his death. John married Mary Cooper, daughter of John Cooper and Anna Sparhawk of Boston who are also our 9th GGPs through a different line.  That is, daughters of John and Anna were grandparent ancestors of Harriet Gove Wilkins and Joseph Nute, our great-grandparents. As such, Harriet and Joseph were distant cousins and likely had no idea. The Sparhawk house is still standing in Boston. Three of John and Mary’s offspring married into the Concord Brooks family. The American Revolution started on Meriam property on April 19, 1775 at “Meriam’s Corner,” now part of the Minute Men's Historical National Park. 
North Bridge at Minute Men National Park, Concord
Daniel was a yeoman, i.e. he held a small landed estate in Concord, and an ensign in the Concord trainband. His home was on Brooks Road which is now part of nearby Lincoln. He and Anna had six children. Daniel died in 1733 at age 69 and Anna in 1757 at age 87. They are buried in the Concord Old Burying Hill cemetery

Deacon John Brooks (1701-1777)

6th GGF John Brooks was the youngest of Daniel and Anna’s six children. John married Lydia Barker (1711-1802) in Concord in 1728 and they had a succession of 10 children over the next 18 years - nine sons and one daughter. They lost one son, Jonas, at age three years.

The Brooks family had acquired land throughout the Concord, Watertown, and Medford communities over the previous three generations and most Brooks living in these areas in the 18th century are descendants of Joshua. Our line remained in that section of Concord which was set off to form Acton in 1735. John was active in Acton town meetings and a deacon of the first Meetinghouse in Acton built in 1736. 

John and his family were committed to the colonists’ side in the Revolutionary War. In 1772, he was on a committee to consider the “state of the rights of colonists and the violation of these rights and to report a draft of such votes as they shall think proper.” In other words, the town’s unhappiness with the British was preparing for a Revolution. 

Several of John’s and Lydia’s sons and grandsons fought in the Revolution. Two sons, Ephraim and our 5th GGF, became doctors. For reasons that are unclear, five sons relocated to the Worcester, MA, area some 30 miles away, possibly due to family land holdings but also due to running out of land for the multitude of male descendants.

John died in 1777 leaving Lydia widowed for 25 years. Lydia, though, had her sister, Dorothy, and the death notice for both remarked “Sisters, through a long life, they were lovely and pleasant to each other, to their numerous descendants and friends, and in their death they were not divided.” Lydia and Dorothy died within 10 days of each other at the ages of 91 and 92, respectively. John, Lydia and Dorothy are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Acton.

Peter Brooks, MD (1745-c. 1800)

5th GGF Peter Brooks was the 9th of John and Lydia’s children. The child before Peter died just before his third birthday when Peter was not yet a year old himself, but was replaced with a brother of the same name in the following year. He also lost a sister when he was ten years old. 

A strong influence in Peter’s life was probably Reverend John Swift, minister of the Acton church who undertook the education of Acton's boys for college preparation. The Reverend’s son was a Harvard graduate, Peter’s peer, and Acton's first physician.  Both Peter and his brother, Ephraim, entered the medical profession and both were probably prepared by Reverend Swift. Peter named one of his own sons John Swift Brooks.

Twenty-year-old Peter received his medical training in 1765 in London where he published a treatise on midwifery. He practiced at the Hôtel-Dieu in Paris where Libby’s notes indicate he treated pregnant women and dissected dead women and fetuses.

Hôtel-Dieu de Paris to the left of Notre Dame Cathedral
The Hôtel-Dieu de Paris founded in 651 is located next to Notre-Dame on the  Île de la Cité. Its history in the mid-1700’s shows a high mortality rate, that up to three patients shared one hospital bed - 1200 beds for 3500 patients - and little effort was made to separate contagious diseases. The hospital continued to operate as a top casualty and research center until closing in 2013 after more than 1400 years of operation. The historic hospital now operates as a mediocre hotel.

Peter returned to the colonies by 1769 when he married Judith Foster of Ashburnham, Massachusetts. The Foster family lived in Harvard, Massachusetts, just next to Acton for about 10 years before moving to Ashburnham in 1753 and, as such, may have been acquainted with the Brooks family.

Peter and Judith settled in Ashburnham and had nine children over the next 18 years. Two died in infancy, including the John Swift Brooks child. They lived on “the old Winchedon Road between the Common and the David Russell farm,” according to History of Ashburnham, possibly located on present day Lake Road, 6.5 miles from Swan Point Road, Rindge, NH.

History of Ashburnham published in 1887 also recounts Peter was the first physician of Ashburnham, and “during the greater part of his practice here he had no competitor. . . About 1792 he left town and nothing is known of his subsequent history. His family remained permanently and his descendants in this town have been numerous.” Is it possible the town didn’t learn of Peter’s indiscretion and elopement to Maine?

Peter’s last child with Judith was Dickerson Brooks, born October 1787. Earlier that year in May, an out-of-wedlock son, Gideon Swan, fathered by Peter, was born to 27 year-old Lucy Swan six miles away in Rindge, NH. Thus, Peter had two children born the same year from two different women. Whether he elected to abandon his wife and seven children or was “asked” to leave won’t be known. 

Likewise, we don’t know whether Peter divorced Judith at any point. Jurisdiction over divorce cases belonged to the Supreme Judicial Court between 1786-1796 and those records are in the Suffolk Files collection, recorded in the SJC record books available on microfilm in the Massachusetts Archives reading room.

Back to our story, Lucy’s father, William Swan (1737-1815) from Bolton, MA, is our 5th GGF through Lucy’s sister Emma Swan who married our Captain Samuel Stephens of Woodstock. According to a report in Libby’s Notes by Peter’s son, Charles, “the cause of Dr. Brooks leaving his family, he says may be of the incident of his doctoring Lucy Swan, by whom she had a son, Gideon. This Gideon was born about 1787.” The mystery is how Lucy Swan from Bolton, MA, some 35 miles distant from Ashburnham, became acquainted with or doctored by Dr. Peter.

William Swan, wife Lucy Robbins, and all but one of their seven children, including the younger Lucy, and young Gideon moved to Paris, Maine, by 1790 when William appears on the census. Gideon was raised in the Swan household; record of his mother’s marrying or her death is not evident. The Swan family, including Gideon, moved to Woodstock in 1802. Gideon became a land owner, served in the War of 1812, and was the last survivor of the Woodstock pioneers.

What happened to Peter?

Peter left Ashburnham, a wife with seven children, and 20 years of medical practice to head to Maine. Our next record of Peter is his marriage to our 5th GGM Betsey Bryant in New Gloucester, Maine in July 1788, 14 months after the birth of Gideon (May 1787) and nine months after the birth of wife Judith’s last child (Oct 1787). 

Available information indicates that Peter arrived in Paris, Maine, with the William Swan (remember - father of Lucy, grandfather of Gideon?) and Solomon Bryant families in 1788. The Bryant family had come up to Paris from Grey, Maine, but whether there was a  Brooks-Swan-Bryant connection before Paris is unclear. In any event, Peter soon married not Lucy, but 19 year-old Betsey Bryant in New Gloucester, abandoning yet another family, Lucy Swan and young infant Gideon. It was common for Paris inhabitants to marry in neighboring New Gloucester. Betsey and 43 year-old Peter were married in July 1788 and our 4th GGM, Lucinda Oraing Brooks, was born five months later in December 1788. It would be a reasonable assumption that Peter was not divorced from his wife at the time of his marriage to Betsey.

By 1792, Peter and Betsey settled in Bakersfield Plantation, now known as Poland, Maine, where he purchased 25 acres and built the first framed house on Pigeon Hill, part of Mechanic Falls. Over their 12 years of marriage, Betsey bore Peter three more children after Lucinda. They moved briefly to Woodstock, then to nearby Greenwood, but returned to Pigeon Hill by 1798 when he was on the tax list for Poland.

Peter continued to practice medicine in Maine, but according to History of Woodstock he was a “root and herb doctor,” preferring plant medicines over drugs as he found them far superior. History of Poland notes he was an “Indian doctor and his services were highly appreciated in those days.” Dr. Peter rode circuit on horseback through Gray, New Gloucester, McFalls, Oxford, Norway, Paris, Minot, Woodstock, Bryant Pond and on to Bethel administering to his patients.

History of Poland recounts Peter used large amounts of rattle snake oil obtained on Rattlesnake Mountain in what is now Raymond, Maine. An April 2018 Smithsonian Magazine article detailed the historical full circle of medicinal uses for snake oil. Native Americans used snake oil as a salve for rheumatic pain. An 1833 Physician’s Assistant recommended using snake oil for painful sores and chilblains, a swelling of the extremities. Recent scientific studies suggest that snake oil may indeed have medicinal properties and that it contains omega-3-fatty acids. Unfortunately, a snake oil salesman in the early 20th century, Clark Stanley, opened a snake oil factory producing a product that was 99% mineral oil mixed with beef fat, camphor and turpentine, giving snake oil its bad reputation.

Local information attributes Dr. Peter’s demise to poison inhaled from the poison teeth of rattle snakes. His death is not recorded, with various sources giving 1800, 1803 or 1804, up to 1808. The last located record is a deed from Jacob Strout to Peter Brooks for 25 acres in Poland, dated November 1800. Betsey remarried in 1804 at age 35, so we know Peter had died by that date.

Dr. Peter's medical knowledge was published posthumously from his manuscript in a 183-page book, The Physician's Assistant : consisting of a short and comprehensive Materia Medica, together with a summary view of the whole practice of physic, surgery and midwifery / by the celebrated Dr. Brooks. One hundred copies were published; an original book is located in Maine Historical Society, another  in the Surgeon General's library, and a reprint at Woodstock Historical Society. A digital copy is online or at Archives.org. Peter's book appears to be the above 1833 source for the Smithsonian magazine's statement for using snake oil for sores and chilblains.

Was our Peter Brooks a Revolution patriot? 

Could Peter have returned to his family home to join with the rest of his Revolutionary family in Acton after the  “skirmish” in Concord and Lexington that set off the Revolution?

Three Peter Brooks are named in Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War, Vol II, including a Peter Brooks "who enlisted in the Continental Army from Middlesex County (year not given), residence, Acton; enlisted for town of Acton," without any further identifying information. His death occurred before Revolution pensions were granted which could have cleared up this mystery. Still, could this have been our Peter? 

Evidence this may be our Peter Brooks:
  • He would have been an acceptable age for enlistment.
  • There is a break in children’s births between 1774 and 1777. 
  • Numerous brothers and nephews in Concord, Acton and surrounding areas were involved in the Revolution.
  • The nearby Concord/Lexington events of April 19, 1775 might have ignited a desire to take part in the Revolution.
  • He seems to have an adventurous, risk taking streak.
Arguments against:
  • He is not mentioned in any of the histories of Ashburnham, Acton, Concord, Poland, Paris, or Woodstock as connected to the Revolution, and all these have sections on their men in the Revolution. History of Acton, however, admits that many of those from the town who fought were not recorded.
  • Why wouldn’t he enlist in Ashburnham militia? Why go 30 miles away to Acton to enlist?
Peter has a Veterans Administration Revolutionary War veteran headstone in Cousens Cemetery in Mechanic Falls placed by George Stephens in 1940. Veterans Administration headstones require minimal information for headstone approval and by itself is insufficient to verify Revolutionary service. Without other corroborating evidence, we can’t say without question that Peter was a Revolution patriot.

Lucinda Oraing Brooks (1788-1839)

Our 4th GGM, Lucinda Brooks, was the 11th child born to Peter Brooks and the first child for her mother, Betsey Bryant. Lucinda presumably spent most of her childhood at the Pigeon Hill farm although the family seemed to move around. She would have been about 12 years old when her father died. Her mother, Betsey, remarried to Jonathan Fickett in 1804 when Lucinda was 16 years old, and had another two children. Her step-father, Jonathan Fickett, is our 4th GGF through his first marriage to Judith Cox, and their daughter Betsey Fickett married 3rd GGF Samuel Nute.

Lucinda married farmer Aaron Davis, Jr., by 1809 when their first child was born and they had a sizable family of 11 children. Aaron was a solider in the War of 1812. 

Lucinda died in 1839 at age 50, and Aaron lived on to age 83. Lucinda and Aaron have headstones in the Nute Cemetery in Woodstock.

Gravestones of Lucinda Brooks and Aaron Davis, Jr, Nute-Stevens Cemetery, Woodstock

The Tail of an American Hoax: The Hisstory of Snake Oil has Come Full Circle, Smithsonian Magazine, Apr 2018.
The physician's assistant: consisting of a short and comprehensive materia medica, together with a summary view of the whole practice of physic, surgery and midwifery, Dr. Peter Brooks, 1833.
History of Poland, HA & GW Poole, 1896.
History of Ashburnham, Ezra Stearns, 1887.
History of Paris, ME, WB Lapham, 1884.
History of Woodstock, ME, WB Lapham, 1882.
Tributaries: Genealogies of the Brooks Families of New England, www.tributaries.info
Notes of Beth Emerson, Woodstock resident and descendant of Peter Brooks, who accessed Libby’s Notes in Woodstock library. Mr. Libby was a storekeeper who recorded notes on conversations he had with customers over the years, and these have been preserved in Woodstock Public Library.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Plympton to Woodstock: Our Bryant Families

Our Bryant ancestry is complicated.

We had two colonial contemporary Bryant families unrelated to each other, both living in the Plymouth County area and united by marriage in the second generation. 

According to the Bryant Family genealogy, three brothers immigrated from Kent, England, in 1630 with their mother, Anne and stepfather, John Doane, a prominent Plymouth citizen and early settler of Eastham, Massachusetts. Of the three brothers, Thomas and our 10th GGF Stephen Bryant were bound out* to family friends, and the third, John, remained with Anne and stepfather Doane who went on to have another family.  John Doane, by the way, is also our 10th GGF through their son, Ephraim, in this second family.

*contracted to another family for housework and apprenticeships, as young as seven years old in some cases. Basically, indentured child labor.

Of these brothers, Thomas ran away from his master’s service. When found in the woods, he was whipped in front of the town council and William Bradford, governor of Plymouth colony and also a grandfather ancestor. This is the last known about young Thomas. John, who stayed with his mother and stepfather, went on to become a founding and prominent citizen of Scituate. The third brother, Stephen, fathered Abigail who married into our other Bryant line.

The Lieut. John Bryant who married Stephen Bryant’s daughter Abigail is not Stephen’s nephew, son of the Scituate John Bryant, but a Plympton John Bryant unrelated to the three brothers. And, no, it wasn't cousin marriage as many Ancestry.com profiles suggest. Indeed, the Scituate John Bryant married Mary Battles.

So it is that we have two unrelated Bryant lines in Plymouth County in the 17th century - Stephen who was one of the 3 brothers and Lieut. John whose parentage is unknown.

Present day Plymouth County

Stephen Bryant (1620-1693)

Stephen Bryant immigrated to Plymouth from England as a ten year old in 1630 and was bound out to our 9th GGF John Shaw, a friend of the Doane/Bryant family. The Shaws, Doanes and Bryants were all from Kent, Essex, England.

Stephen married the boss’s daughter, Abigail Shaw (1626-1694), in 1646 and among their nine children were two of our GGM’s, Abigail Bryant, who married Lt. John Bryant, and Mary Mercy Bryant who married Eleaser Pontus Churchill. 
John Shaw (1583-1638) and wife Alice Phillips (1592-1636) arrived in Plymouth by 1627 when he is listed as one of those drawing lots to tend the colony’s goats and cows. He acquired land and served on various town posts. By 1643, John’s son, Jonathan, and Stephen Bryant bought some acreage together. On John's death, he left substantial land to his former indentured child servant, Stephen Bryant.
Stephen purchased land in Plymouth in 1643  as well as various other parcels of land over the years.  He was admitted as a freeman of Plymouth in 1654. He served the usual community posts in Plymouth, including constable, surveyor of highways, and juryman.

Stephen and his brother-in-law, Jonathan Shaw, must have remained good buddies. In 1649, he and Jonathan were found guilty of working on Sunday - carrying barrels to the tar pits. While Stephen was given a warning, Jonathan was put in stocks.

Stephen and Abigail are buried in Burial Hill Cemetery in Plymouth in unmarked graves.

Lieut. John Bryant ( - 1731)

The family origins of 9th GGF Lieut. John Bryant are unknown, but he was living in Plympton at least by1650 when he received a grant of 100 acres close to father-in-law Stephen Bryant in an area of Plymouth later incorporated as Plympton.* He is listed as a First Settler of Plympton.
*Originally part of Plymouth, Plympton was first settled by Europeans between 1670 and 1680, incorporated as a town in 1707.  Plympton initially included all of Carver & Halifax as well as small portions of Kingston and Middleborough. Before incorporation, the area was called Western Precinct of Plymouth.
The origin of his title "Lieut." is unclear, but presumed to be from defense of the town during that period of conflict and threat from the Native American population in New England.

Lieut. John was a mariner involved in shipping between England and the New England coast which was extensive at the time. He built a house on the shore of Jones River Pond said to be the largest in Plymouth County. He held various customary posts in the community, including juror, road surveyor, and constable.

As mentioned, Lieut. John married Abigail Bryant (1646-1715) in 1665 and they had seven children whose births were recorded in Plymouth. A 36-year old son, Benjamin, also a mariner, drowned in 1724 while trying to make port at Plymouth during a storm. John died in 1708 and Abigail in 1714. Both are probably buried in the Old Cemetery at the Green in Plympton, now Middleborough, but there is not documentation I can find.

Samuel Bryant Sr. (1673-1750)

8th GGF Samuel Bryant, the fourth child and oldest son of Lt. John and Abigail, was born in Plympton and, like his father, was a mariner as a young man. He was a deacon of the church, and landowner at the time of incorporation of Plympton in 1707.

Samuel married Joanna Cole (1672-1736) in 1698 and they raised seven children on a farm in Plympton. Widowed at age 63, Samuel married secondly widow Elizabeth Sampson Cushman. Samuel died in 1750, age 77, and both are buried in Hillcrest Cemetery in Plympton (Row 1-P10-S9).
Hillcrest Cemetery, Plympton
Bryant Plot in Hillcrest Cemetery in foreground
Joanna, wife of Deacon Samuel Bryant

DEC YE 18th
1736 IN
YE 65th YEAR

IN ye 77th YEAR
Deacon Samuel Bryant
Deacon Samuel Bryant, Jr. (1699-1774)

7th GGF Deacon Samuel Jr. married Tabitha Ford (1702-1773) in 1723, and they had 11 children. Following in family tradition, Samuel Jr. was an ocean-going ship captain, and as the eldest son he inherited half of his father’s land in Plympton.
Seventeen year old 10th GGF William Ford (1604-1676) arrived in Plymouth from Surrey, England with his widowed mother and two siblings in 1621 on the ship Fortune. He settled in Marshfield where he established Dunham’s Mill. William married Anna Eames in1632. William and Anna are GGPs of Tabitha; all generations lived in Marshfield until Tabitha’s parents moved to Pembroke.
Samuel and Tabitha died in Plympton within 9 months of each other, he nearly 75 years old and she age 71. Both are buried in the Bryant section of Hillcrest Cemetery In Plympton.
Deacon Samuel Bryant Jr. and wife Tabitha's gravestones in Hillcrest Cemetery
Samuel Jr.’s daughter, Lydia, married Consider Fuller and, after Consider’s death in 1759, moved her family to New Gloucester, Maine, where she joined a Shaker community. Her son, Consider Fuller, Jr., married a first cousin and moved to Paris, Maine in 1801, living in a log cabin near his uncle, Solomon Bryant (see below). The Consider Fuller families were later to end up in Woodstock. Another Deacon Samuel’s granddaughter, Jane, moved with her husband to Paris, Maine. Thus, by the turn of the 19th century, we had a nidus of Plympton Bryant’s living in Paris.

Solomon Bryant (1746-1826)

Our 6th GGF Solomon Bryant was the youngest of Deacon Samuel’s and Tabitha’s 11 children who were born over a period of 21 years. Samuel and Tabitha were still having children in their 40’s. 

At age 20, Solomon married 15-year-old Elizabeth Randall Curtis of the prosperous Curtis family in nearby Hanover, Massachusetts and they started a family the same year. 

Records of the First Congregational Church in Hanover show Solomon and Elizabeth were married at the church in 1766 and admitted to full communion by 1767. Their first five children were baptized at the First Congregational. 

Solomon and Elizabeth had four children over the next four years - Elizabeth, our 5th GGM Betsey, Solomon Jr., and Christopher - but their baby making was slowed by Solomon’s service in the Revolution.

A fifth child, Lydia, was born in Hanover during Solomon's Revolution service and another five children were born over the following 16 years - Lydia, Samuel, Susannah, Abigail, Joanna, and Martha - for a total of 10 children. Three were born after the family move to Gray, Maine and the final two in Paris, Maine in 1791 and 1794.

Solomon was among the hotbed of Hanover Revolutionaries, a Minuteman under Captain Turner and other regiments with deployments throughout the war from April 1775 to January 1779 when he was discharged. His enlistment describes him as 5’7” with dark complexion.

Soon after the his war service, Solomon and Elizabeth moved their family to Gray, Maine. The motivation to leave an area where they had long standing family roots is puzzling. Being the 5th son and 11th child in line likely meant there wasn’t much land left for inheritance, but he came from a sea-going family and a shipping community. Being the 11th child with parents in their late 50’s may have meant he was apprenticed out as a teen to someone in Hanover to acquire a trade, perhaps to his future father-in-law, Mr. Curtis. Information in Maine indicates he was a house builder and lumber miller.

In any event, sometime between the birth of daughter Abigail in Gray, Maine in 1787 and the 1790 census, the Bryant family relocated even again inland to Paris, Maine, then known as Plantation Number 4. Solomon was an early settler and one of the first millers in South Paris.

Solomon was active in the Paris community, serving posts of surveyor of lumber, hog reeve, land tax assessor. He and son, Solomon Jr., signed the petition for incorporation of Paris in 1792. In a land purchase in Paris in 1800, he is referred to as a “housewright,” the term for a timber house builder in Colonial times. Another reference to Solomon in History of Paris indicates he was a “millman,” i.e., he ran a saw mill.

Two of Solomon’s sons, Christopher and Solomon, Jr. were the first settlers of Woodstock, Maine, known at that time as Plantation No. 3 until incorporation as a town in 1815. Along with their brother Samuel, who was still a teenager and several brothers-in-law, Christopher and Solomon had the intent to make Woodstock a family settlement. Bryant’s Pond is named after the brothers.

Solomon Sr. and wife Elizabeth moved in 1808 to Woodstock where three sons and several daughters had already settled, but by 1810 the couple returned to Paris and Elizabeth died the same year, age 60. She must have been just worn out.

The 1820 census shows Solomon is head of household living in Paris with a young couple and two children under age 10. He died in 1826, age 80. What a guy!

The burial site of Solomon and Elizabeth in Paris is unknown.

Betsey Bryant (1769-after 1854)

Our 5th GGM, Betsey Bryant was the 2nd child of Solomon and Elizabeth. She would have been about 10 years old when the family moved to Gray, Maine and 19 years old when she became the second wife of our 43-year-old 5th GGF Dr. Peter Brooks. Dr. Brooks had the distinction of abandoning his wife and eight children in Ashburnham, Mass, and the further distinction of fathering an out-of-wedlock son while his wife was pregnant.

Dr. Peter’s proclivity for young women continued with Betsey as she was only 19 years old at marriage and had her first child, our 4th GGM Lucinda Oraing Brooks, seven months later.

Betsey and Dr. Peter lived in Plantation No. 4 (now Paris) from 1788 until moving to Poland in 1792, then known as Bakersfield Plantation. According to Woodstock history, the family lived briefly in Woodstock in 1798, perhaps as part of the Bryant plan for a family settlement, then moved to nearby Greenwood. Dr. Peter died at age 55 in 1800, said to have been caused by inhaling poison from rattlesnakes that he gathered for his medical practice. He is buried in a small cemetery in Mechanic Falls.

Betsey was a 31-year-old widow with four children when Peter died. Four years after Peter’s death, Betsey married Jonathan Fickett, a farmer and widower with four children, in Poland, Maine. They moved to Woodstock in 1818, joining the rest of her Bryant siblings. 

Jonathan and Betsey settled on what was known as the Nute farm in Woodstock. Jonathan’s daughter Betsey by his first wife Judith Cox, was wife of our 3rd GGF Samuel Nute.

Betsey and Dr. Peter’s oldest daughter 4th GGM Lucinda (1788-1839) married Aaron Davis, Jr. and they were grandparents of our 2nd GGM  Lovina Dunn Davis, wife of Orsamus Nute. Betsey's sons, William and Charles, by Peter Brooks were residents of Woodstock. Betsey's youngest child by Peter Brooks, also Betsey, lived throughout her life with mother Betsey and stepfather Jonathan, dying in 1859 with tuberculosis she'd had since a child.

Betsey’s husband, Jonathan, died in 1850 and Betsey’s signature was on court papers as late as 1854 asking to sell part of their land for her support. Other than this we don’t know exactly when Betsey died. Per Libby's notes, Jonathan and Betsey are buried in the Nute-Stevens cemetery in Woodstock. 

1. The Bryant Family, Researched by Edna Bryant Cole, online