Category Archives: Genealogy

Ancestors at Large

Ezekiel Wells and Mary Foster Wells died in Simsbury eight days apart in 1762. Their children Israel and Abiah were then raised by Mary’s parents Israel Foster and Ruth Bridges Foster. Ruth died in Simsbury in 1778. Israel Foster died in Simsbury in 1779. Abiah died in Simsbury in 1785.

None of them are in the Simsbury Cemetery.

They really should be in there somewhere

It’s not a small cemetery, but I checked every row back to where most headstones were from the 20th century. Along the way, I noticed that all of the headstones from before about 1820 were of darker stone, so I went back to the first row and rechecked every headstone of that type.

There were some that were so worn or damaged that they were unreadable, but those were either individual graves or in a group associated with a different family (not Wells, Foster, or Bridges). I would expect all five to be buried near each other, so the unreadable headstones don’t seem to fit.

There were some Welles graves from the late 19th century, but no Wells, Foster, or Bridges graves in the whole place. (I did, however, find a Philologus Webster.)

There are some smaller cemeteries in the area, but none of them seem to go back that far.

Some possibilities:

  • I somehow just missed them after two passes through the cemetery.
  • They’re all in some other cemetery for some reason.
  • Their graves are unmarked.
  • Grave robbers from outer space!

Well, at least the cemetery wasn’t closed.

Israel Wells’ Powder Horn

The Simsbury Historical Society is closed until after I leave. The Simsbury Free Library, with its genealogical collection, is also closed until after I leave. The aforementioned Newport Tower Museum was closed until after I left. The nice-looking restaurant here in the Simsbury 1820 House is closed until after I leave.

I’m sure this is just bad luck and I have no reason to be worried about it.

When I wrote to the Simsbury Historical Society last week, they said that they didn’t have any information on Ezekiel and Mary Wells, but they do have Israel Wells’ powder horn from 1776. There’s a summary of their research on their website (PDF).

Israel Wells’ Powder Horn

I couldn’t go in to see it, but I could peer in the window and get this picture.

Left to Right: Powder Horns Belonging to Dudley Ely, Israel Wells, and Nathaniel Humphrey

Simsbury, Connecticut

I’m staying at the Simsbury 1820 House, which, coincidentally, was built in 1820. As you can clearly see from the photo, it reflects Georgian and Adamesque influences with its Palladian windows and Doric columned porch. It’s also the birthplace of Gifford Pinchot, and yes, that is the very same Gifford Pinchot who founded the US Forest Service in 1905.

Simsbury 1820 House

A place as ritzy as this really requires its own custom toilet paper label, and indeed it has one.

Ritzy TP Label

Simsbury is where my 4G-grandfather Israel Wells lived prior to the Ohio migration of 1804-1805, when he was in his mid-40s. His parents also lived here until their untimely deaths around age 30, in 1762. Israel and his sister were then raised by their maternal grandparents.

There isn’t much to Simsbury. I expected more of a town, with a town square and streets laid out in a grid around it, but there’s none of that. It’s just a collection of buildings along one side of the Farmington River, built at various times over the last 350 years.

The Starbucks was built in 1762. As you may have guessed, it was not a Starbucks at the time.

18th Century Starbucks

It was originally built as a house and used as a tavern during the Revolution. Given the central nature of taverns during that period, I like to think that Israel was in there at least once, when he wasn’t out shooting redcoats.

Sign in Starbucks

Pilgrimage to Waverly

In the Palouse region of Washington, in the town of Waverly, just across Hangman Creek, is the Waverly Cemetery, where one can find a number of Lemons.

Most notable to me was my great-great-grandmother Diana Catherine Hainer Lemon.

From the Waverly Gazette, Friday, February 7, 1908 (with my corrections):

Mrs. D.C. Lemon, died at the home of her son, J.A. Lemon, Waverly, Wash, Thursday, Jan. 30, 190[8] the cause of death being the infirmities incident to old age.

Diana Catherine Haine[r] was born at St. Catherine[s], Canada, May 27, 1827. She was married to Isaac Lemon in Burford, Canada, Jan. 24, 18[4]5. Nine children came to bless this union, seven of whom survive her. Shortly after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Lemon moved to Eri[e] county, Pa., where she resided until ten years after the death of her husband. Last April Mrs. Lemon __ moved to Waverly to live with her son, J.A. Lemon.

Mrs. Lemon was a devoted Christian and had been a church worker for more than 60 years. She was 80 years, 8 months and 3 days old at the time of her death, and while she had lived beyond the limit of ordinary lives, her death was a sad bereavement to her loving children, who have the earnest sympathy of all. Interment was in the Waverly cemet[e]ry.

My great-grandmother Merta Lemon was the ninth of the nine children mentioned. My grandmother was the eighth of Merta’s eight children.

Other Lemons were also present.

There were several of those bathtub-shaped demarcations, with no indication of their purpose. Most of them were concrete, but Abby’s was made out of metal pipe.