Last week I transcribed a remarkable interview from 1877 detailing the life of John Eason of Augusta, Maine, an African American Freewill Baptist preacher who played by Plymouth Rock as a child. The interview contains numerous fascinating stories from John Eason’s life, as well as several inaccuracies. So let’s dive a little deeper into his background and life. John Eason’s Controversial Birthyear – 1776 0r 1786? The reporter stated “The old bible in the chimney corner bears this record: John Eason, born May 14th, 1776, making Mr. Eason one hundred and one years old the 14th of May last . It is … Continue reading Augusta’s Forgotten Minister: John Eason (1786-1879)
In the autumn of 1877, a reporter for Augusta, Maine’s Daily Kennebec Journal documented a remarkable interview with an elderly African American man known as “Parson Eason”, a former Baptist preacher with Massachusetts roots. FATHER EASON. The Man of a Century – Something of His Life and Experience. “It may not be generally known that there lives in our midst a man whose birth day dates back more than one hundred years who stands among us a living monument of a past age and whose memory travels back almost to the time when the foundations of the republic were laid … Continue reading The “Man of a Century”: Parson John Eason of Augusta, Maine
Part One: The Funeral of Lucy Stewart In the fall of 1859, an unusual obituary was published across the country: A DECIDED CHARACTER. Miss Lucy Stewart, of South Scituate [Norwell], Mass., recently died at the great age of 96 years. The following account is given of her strange personal history: Her father was a white man, a sea captain, and her mother a full-blooded Indian. She was brought up in [the Stockbridge family] one of the first families of the town of Scituate, and had, until within a year or two, lived in the family down to … Continue reading Mattakeeset Indian Lucy Stewart (1763-1859) of Norwell, Mass.
George McClellan packed his bags and left his wife and three children behind in Hanson, Massachusetts. He took the train to Boston, and disappeared. His family never knew what became of him. But of course, his story continued. He settled in Boston where had lived when he first emigrated from Nova Scotia, and he continued to work as a brick mason. In the 1900 Census, taken 13-14 June 1900, George R. McClelland (b. Jan 1846, Canada English, to father b. Canada English and mother b. Scotland, single, immigrated 1880, naturalized, brickmason, 3 months unemployed in the year) was enumerated at 6 … Continue reading Mystery Monday: The Disappearance of George McClellan: Life and Death in Boston
In the spring of 1881, George McClellan reported that he had found a new job in Denver that was more suitable than his work as a police officer. Whatever his new position was, however, he did not remain in it for long, as he had returned home to his family in Hanson, Massachusetts by the winter of 1881. Upon reuniting with his wife Imogene, they conceived their son Roderic Cameron McClellan in December 1881. On 1 June 1882, George R. McClellan was naturalized at the United States Circuit Court, Boston, Massachusetts. The witnesses to his naturalization were Friend White Howland … Continue reading Mystery Monday: The Disappearance of George Roderic McClellan: George and Imogene’s Life in Hanson
October 1880 was a significant month for George R. McClellan. He had been warned by Denver Mayor Richard Sopris to not bother returning to Denver following a visit home to Hanson, Massachusetts, as a result of his involvement in a bribery scandal within the Denver police department and Denver City Council. But he defiantly returned and continued to serve as a police officer, until fallout from the Moon affair on 15 October 1880 led to his dismissal, along with one third of the Denver police department –including the chief of police – who were fired by a corrupt City Council … Continue reading Mystery Monday: The Disappearance of George McClellan: Anti-Chinese Riot and Officer McClellan’s Prostitution Scandal and Resignation from the Denver Police
George R. McClellan left Hanson, Mass. for Denver in the fall of 1879 without a particular business venture in mind. He had burned his bridges with former partner F.W. Gromm, whose trunk business had become successful in McClellan’s absence. He was not invited to rejoin Gromm’s company, and so he went looking for work in Denver. In December 1879, George R. McClellan, a trained brick mason and former trunk shop owner, was hired as a Denver police officer, with no particular experience in policing. McClellan joined the force at the height of tensions between Denver politicians and the police force. … Continue reading Mystery Monday: The Disappearance of George McClellan: Becoming Officer McClellan, the Farcical Moon Affair, and a Bribery Scandal in Denver
George McClellan left his new bride Imogene and infant son George in Hanson, Mass. and arrived in Denver, Colorado by early December 1873. He probably traveled by railroad, including the Old Colony Railroad from Hanson, The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad to New York City, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from New York City to St. Louis, and the Missouri Pacific Railroad from St. Louis to Kansas City and on to Denver. The first identified record of George R. McClellan in Denver is from an announcement published in Daily Rocky Mountain News on 6 December 1873 … Continue reading Mystery Monday: The Disappearance of George McClellan: Success In Denver Turns To Smoke
Imogene (Everson) McClellan was an avid genealogist. About 1903, several years after her husband George Roderic McClellan disappeared, Imogene began compiling her own genealogy. While doing so, she wrote on a small slip of paper all that she could remember about George McClellan’s immediate family, and gave it to her daughter Lillian McClellan. Lillian’s grandniece Maria McClellan discovered it years later, when she inherited Lillian’s papers. It was the first clue to discovering the origins of George Roderic McClellan. It reads: McClellan Family Dougal McClellan, son of Dougal McClellan and Mary Scott, born in Edinburg, Scotland married Christina Cameron, b. I[n]verness, Scotland Oct. … Continue reading Mystery Monday: The Disappearance of George Roderic McClellan: His Roots
Part One: Family Traditions: The Disappearance of George Roderic McClellan My grandmother’s house, the childhood home of my father, has been in the family for several generations. It holds countless memories and stories, and the story of its origin looms large in family lore. My grandmother is a McClellan from Hanson, Mass., but the introduction of the family surname to Hanson was surrounded in a century-old scandal. Built in 1903 for my great-grandmother Imogene Lillian (Everson) McClellan, the house was intended to be a fresh start for Imogene and her three children. Her husband, Nova Scotian-born (with Scottish roots) George … Continue reading Mystery Monday: The Disappearance of George Roderic McClellan
As NEHGS celebrates its 170th anniversary, this week the New England Historical and Genealogical Register launched a beautiful new format and style. This Register features my article “Descendants of John Everson of Plymouth, Massachusetts” which identifies and untangles the early Everson family of Plymouth Colony. In the 17th century, John Everson was an unwelcome transient in both Massachusetts Bay Colony and Plymouth Colony, and he ultimately gave up custody of his three young children, who were each taken in and raised by separate Plymouth families. Very little has been published on the family up until now, and the few publications … Continue reading Surname Saturday: John Everson of Plymouth, Massachusetts
While performing research in Scituate, Massachusetts town records, I came across an unusual record from a town meeting (edited slightly for spelling): 25 May 1767 Upon the Petition & Request of Ebenezer Mott setting forth that he about four years ago took by indenture an apprentice named Ezekel Sprague to learn the trade of a cordwainer & to provide for him til he should arrive to the age of twenty one years he being now about 13 years old but so it is that yt Ezekel has been for some time troubled with uncommon fits and it is doubtful whether … Continue reading Amanuensis Monday: The Broken Indenture of Ezekiel Sprague Jr. of Scituate, Mass.