I made the decision to focus on the women when I head up our family tree. So many family history books tell you about the vital records of the men, extol their deeds and adventures and maybe if we are lucky tell us the full names of their wives and a hint as to her family. I feel that family history should be more than just birth, marriage and death dates -- to celebrate our families, we should include their stories, after all they were people, not just a list of dates, and thanks to them we are all here now. Not all of their stories are going to include record-shattering achievements of world leaders, and most likely no one in the family is that famous person.
In my last book, I focused on the women in my great grandmother's generation: Mary Alice Smith Dakin, Caroline Matilda Helsten Evans, Mary Louisa Helsten Pomeroy, Martha Elnora Worthington Richardson, and Alice Copeland Harvey.
This year it is time to move on to my great great grandmother's generation: Hannah Marie Colburn Dakin, Abigail Jennings Smith, Hannah Elizabeth Redford Evans, Mary Hearty Helsten, Mary A C Bogart Richardson, Elnora Esther Cobb Worthington, Mary Hubbard Nye Harvey, and Hannah Elizabeth Blodgett Copeland. Here is a little bit about each of these women.
I know very little about Hannah Marie Colburn Dakin (1807 - 1849) before she married, Robert Dakin the blacksmith in 1830 in Hudson New York. She was born about 1807 in Chenango County, New York and her last name was a probably Colburn, but I've found no birth family information for her. We have not pictures of her or her husband. It was a short marriage, after having 4 children, ages 2, 4, 6, and 8, her husband died suddenly from inflammation of the lungs, leaving her a widow with bills greater than the value of the estate. There was a sheriff's sale listing her and her children as responsible for the debts. Then to add insult to injury Hannah died at age 42 leaving. How did her children manage? Her oldest, Lucy Ann Dakin Wilkinson, was a seamstress in NYC who married a chinaware businessman widower with two children. Lucy lived a good long life. Hannah's youngest, Edward Dakin after being farmed out as an orphan to a Hudson family eventually moved to Connecticut, worked on a farm, saved his money, bought the general store and became the first postmaster for South Kent, Connecticut. He married and had one son, who I'm descended from. The two other sons, Charles Henry Dakin and George Dakin ended up "farmed out" to different farms in the same Connecticut town. A few years later they were fighting on opposite sides of the Civil War. George, the Confederate, died a few days after being discharged in Memphis, Tennessee. His brother Charles made it back to New York, settled near his sister in New York City working as a carpenter. He died from consumption and exhaustion at the age of 35.
Lucy Dakin Wilkinson with baby Charles Wilkinson. He was named for her brother Charles who died a few months before. She raised their children along with his when they married.
Charles Henry Dakin (1832 - 1868) who survived fighting on the Union side of the Civil War and died from TB (consumption) shortly afterwards.
This is a crayon portrait of Charles.
Edward Dakin (1836 - 1914) who live to be the postmaster in Kent Connecticut and then to marry Mary Alice Smith, the local school teacher, and to have their own farm in Gaylordsville. I wrote a whole book on is family's experience of the building of the Bulls Bridge Power Plant.
Our next woman Abigail Jennings Smith (1833 - 1882), her daughter Mary Alice Smith married Hannah's son, Edward Dakin. She was born in New Fairfield, Connecticut, her mother was Sally Betsy Elwell and her father Lyman Jennings. Her parents farmed and she married another farmer, Stephen Smith who lived in Kent. They had six children, five lived until adulthood.
She lived to see her oldest daughters marry. First Clara Wright Smith married Frederick Chase on 30 December 1879 then on 11 February 1880 her daughter Mary Alice married Edward Dakin. When Mary and Edward decided to have a farm they sold the general store post office to William Geer who a year later sold it to the Chases. Geer was a distant relative on their mother's side. All in the family.
Abigail died at age 49 from a form of TB. She left David Orange 21, Wilber Grant 19, and Fannie Abbie 13 still at home on the farm.
She lived to see her brother-in-law Orange Smith, who worked as a farm hand for them to go off to fight the Civil War. I included his letters home to Steven and their daughter Mary Alice in my first volume of Remember the Women. Also Steven's sister, Fannie E Smith, married Anson B Nichols, he went off to fight the Civil War (his letters are in Volume 2). Fannie had a young child and was pregnant when he left for the war. She died while he was gone, leaving two young children. Their brother Orange and and brother -in-law Anson made it home safely and then Orange moved to Minnesota and died there in 1869.
In contrast, our next woman, Hannah Elizabeth Radford Evans (1825 - 1915), lived a long very busy life. She was called Liz or Elizabeth. Elizabeth was born in 1825 in Middlebury Connecticut. I know her parents, Harriet Higgins and Beers Radford. Her mother's family goes back to the settling of New Haven. Her father is still a bit of a mystery -- she has Radford cousins, but I've not identified his parents. Her father was a blacksmith and lived long enough at 91 to be listed on a census under occupation as "old man of the house."
She had two older brothers, Horace Radford was a successful businessman who possibly was the person who paid for a year of college for her in 1844 - 1845 at that new school, Mt Holyoke
She corresponded with her Radford cousins
in New York about the issues of the day, including schools, books, family, their own work and abolitionists. She came from a family who appreciated her wanting to learn. Her sister married a year before she did. Harriet August Radford married Julius Bronson, a widower with a 12-year-old daughter.
When she married Charles Evans she moved to her husband's family farm in Sherman Connecticut. Even while busy raising four children and running a farm from a farmhouse without modern conveniences, she was reading, writing and sharing ideas. Her two daughters married and moved away, her sons formed a local construction company, Evans Brothers, building houses and the town hall around Sherman. Then the sons closed up that company and packed up their families and started a new business running a lumber yard and construction company in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1888. Then in 1899, at the age 74 she and Charles decided to moved into the town of Great Barrington -- no more running the farm. She was busy with activities there, including the Thursday Morning Club -- a women's group who had regular educational activities and speakers. She also would enter crafts she made in fairs. In 1903, shortly before her husband died, the local paper profiled couples who were married more than 50 years. For her 88th birthday the Springfield Union newspaper profiled her colorful life remembering details of 22 presidential campaigns and attending Mt Holyoke College. She died at the age of 90. Elizabeth's son Charles Harold Evans married the daughter, Caroline Matilda Helsten, of our next woman.
Mary Hearty Helsten (1823 -1902) had a dramatically different life.
Mary was born in Dorsy Townland, Parish Creggan, County Armagh, Ireland. Her father was Owen Hearty and we don't know her mother. We know his name because he wrote two letters from his daughter during the famine.
There were many Hearty families living in that part of what is now Northern Ireland back to the 1600s. But they were so poor, that in the 1827 Tithe Applotment book her father has a bit less than 5 acres to farm. I went to Northern Ireland to research, but couldn't find even anything in the landholding landlord's papers. During the "Great Potato Fanine" (now called the Great Hunger by the Irish), Mary came on one of the "Coffin Ships" -- so named because the death rate while crossing the ocean. She arrived in New York City in 1848 and took a job working as an Irish maid for Benjamin Cowl, a widower running a tannery in Haviland Hollow New York. Working there as a tanner was Eric Helsten, he had arrived in New York City in 1845, and in 1846 headed north to work for Cowl. Life in Sweden wasn't good, but it wasn't a bad famine like Ireland. The two immigrants believed if they worked hard, they could make it here and they did. They saved and bought a tannery and then the house in front of it in Gaylordsville, Connecticut. She not only raised her children but also was housing the workers in the tannery and apprentices. Just imagine the laundry.
The Evans family was living just over the town line in Sherman at the top of the hill. They were just across the river from the General store, easy for their kids to meet. Mary and Eric lived in that house until they died in 1902 and 1903. They had one son and 3 daughters. One married Charles H Evans, their oldest Mary Louisa Helsten married a widower with a son and after her husband died, continued to run the business with her step-son. Mary L Pomeroy was the one who stayed nearby her parents as they aged. Their youngest daughter, Sarah married a widower with two sons and moved to Washington DC. Their son married and worked in the resort his in-laws ran in Rhode Island. Caroline who married the carpenter who went to Great Barrington, she and her husband were actually near the trains that ran through Gaylordsville up to Great Barrington and her husband took over running Eric's business behind the Helsten home when she and Eric died.
Our next woman was also born abroad, but with a different ancestral life history.
Mary A C Bogart Richardson (1841 - 1910) was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada. She was the daughter of Isabelle Young and Abraham Lazier Bogart. Her father is well documented all the way back to the early Dutch settlers in New York, but we know nothing of her mother's family. When the Mary's paternal ancestors came to what is now Ontario, it was wilderness and they were given land by the British crown for their loyalty during the American Revolution -- they were United Empire Loyalists (U.E.L.). Her husband William Richardson was the son of an Irish immigrant to Quebec who was a shoemaker. He was educated and employed by the Bank of Montreal, traveling around to new branches for short stays around Canada. They married when he was working in Belleville and she moved with him. They had six children, the last one was born in Chicago. Why Chicago? Her husband was sent to Chicago after the Chicago Fire in 1870 to help with the rebuilding of the city by setting up a bank branch there
. When her husband left his job at the bank he started his own marine insurance office and his adult sons worked there over the years. The family moved to Oak Park and possibly that was how they met the future wife of their son Harry Bogart Richardson. Or possibly the fathers met professionally, each was working downtown. The oldest son William Grant Richardson moved away, eventually settling in St Louis and writing using his middle name as a feature writer for the St Louis Post Dispatch. Their oldest daughter Grace Dagmar lived at home and worked in the agency. The next daughter, Minnie Alexandra, died as a child from "softening of the brain"at age 10. Their youngest daughter Thyra married, John Eldon Shepherd and developed kidney problems, moved to New Jersey to see New York doctors, but ended up dying young at age 38, leaving three sons. The two sons who stayed around Chicago, Frederick and Harry Bogart, often worked in the insurance office. Fred was in the newspaper for his dramatic story of his divorce after going blind
. Harry took two years off to look for counterfeiters for the Secret Service
in Denver taking one of his sons with him. Mary died at age 69 from dilation of heart. Mary's son Harry Bogart Richardson married Martha Elnora Worthington, the daughter of our next woman, Elnora Esther Cobb Worthington.
Elnora Esther Cobb Worthington (1840 - 1923) was born in Eaton, near Rome, New York. She was the daughter of Elnora Esther DeLoss (Loss) and Nathan Cobb.
Her father ran a lumber yard in Morrisville and about 1855 decided he wanted to move to Chicago. There Nathan ran a planing shop, prepping boards for planks and shingles for sale in the construction of buildings. She married Robert the young man who lived next door in Chicago who was 10 years her senior who worked as a clerk in freight forwarding. He also had been born in New York state, and had moved to Wisconsin with his widowed father and his new wife. His father valued education and passed that love of books and poetry on to his son. They had one daughter and the love of literature was passed on to her.
The three of them survived the Chicago Fire, rebuilding their home in the newly growing suburb of Oak Park instead of where their home had burned in Chicago. Her husband was involved in the rebuilding of the city managing the building of the new Chicago Board of Trade Building. Elnora outlived her husband by 20 years, living next door to her daughter's family in the house they built for her. A home her grand and great grand children grew up in over the years. She died at age 82.
Mary Hubbard Nye Harvey (1812 - 1859) was born in Berlin, Vermont. She was the daughter of Mary Andrews and Asahel Hubbard Nye. I have no pictures of her, her parents, husband or son who I am descended from. Her mother died when she was a month and a half old. A year and a half later her father remarried to Sarah Barnard, they had 10 children, 7 living to adulthood. She married a carpenter, Enoch Dole Harvey, someone who also had a challenging childhood with a father disappearing leading to Enoch and his sister getting farmed out to relatives. They settled in Northfield, Vermont. Then a decade later her husband goes to Wisconsin to investigate moving to the wilderness there. When they headed out via horse and carriage and boat, she had four young children (10, 8, 5, and 1). They had 7 children, and when she took sick her older helped run the household and continued doing so when she died in Lake Mills Wisconsin at age 46, leaving children 6, 11, 14, 17, 21 and 26. Her husband outlived her by almost 30 years. Her youngest son, Joseph Elliot Harvey married the daughter, Alice Copeland Harvey, of our next woman.
Hannah Elizabeth Blodgett Copeland (1826 - 1919) had quite the opposite lifespan of our last woman.
Hannah was the daughter of Rebecca Blodgett and Laban Blodgett. She also grew up in Vermont, Randolph so she probably never met the Nye or Harvey family. Her oldest sister Mary Riddle Blodgett Weymouth had already gone to Jefferson Wisconsin. Mary had 5 children and having some help was probably why she suggested her sister come west, so Hannah went. Mary had another 3 children before she died at age 33. Soon after arriving in Jefferson, Hannah met Charles Copeland, a marino sheep farmer who had gone west on the advice of his uncle, Rev. John Reed the congressman. The next year she married. They had 6 children. He was involved in the community helping to set up wool processing plants and a bank. His cousin, George Copeland along with Lewis Ryder started the Copeland Ryder Shoe Company (Jefferson Shoe Company), it was a family business, and eventually their son was the president of the shoe company. Hannah died at age 93, after a long life
, with obituaries noting her deep interesting in civil and social affairs and the church to the end. She outlived her husband by 30 years.
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