Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Comings and Goings of Life in Randolph, NH in 1916 - Part II

In Part I of this story, we left off with Arthur and Eleanor planning a short mountain trip. As it turns out, the only mountain trip they went on during the second part of the year was to the “Ledge” in Randolph. The Ledge my grandmother referred to is called Lookout Ledge, which is located in Randolph, NH. They reached it by taking the Ledge Trail located just west of the Ravine House site on Durand Rd. in Randolph. The Ledge offers great views of Kings Ravine, Mt. Madison, Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, Pine Mt. and the Carter Range.

The remainder of the year continued with friends and family weaving in and out of daily routines creating a glimpse of a tapestry that was my grandparent’s life.

On Saturday, July 1, Eleanor wrote:

Lovely day again. Packed up for Randolph.Made a loaf of nut bread. Were eating dinner when Harold(Boothman) came. He went to the movies and back to supper. We hustled to 6:20 car. Harold had fireworks and we were loaded down. Waited at Myra’s and left at 10:00. Arthur’s father waited at Haley’s during shower. Arrived home at 12:00. Horse became very lame and had to walk him all the way. Arthur walked up big hills to Haley’s.

Note 1: I have several photos of Myra taken by Eleanor during this period but no clue as to her last name.

Note 2: After spending a week of visiting, cooking and cleaning at Coldbrook Lodge Eleanor went to Portland, Me to visit her folks for two weeks. Arthur joined her for the last week in July.

On Sunday, August 13, Eleanor wrote:

Arthur up at 5:00 to get vegetables from garden. After breakfast he went out in the rain and picked a beautiful bouquet of sweet peas. Over to Randolph on 8:45. Rained but not awfully hard. Fixed beans (green) for dinner. Set table and froze banana ice-cream. Changed clothes and went to meet Marie. Rained hard when half way home.Got dinner ready. Showered. So cold had to build a fire in stove every once and a while. Two lovely rainbows.Took ice-cream over to Riva’s. May and Ralph over in eve. Jim White brought them over. To bed at 11:00.

Note 1: Eleanor’s sister Marie came down from Portland, ME for a two week visit. Her husband Paul joined her for the last few days of the visit. Then on Sept 3rd, Eleanor left for Portland and visited her family returning home on the 10th.

Note 2: Ralph Perley Watson, my grandfather’s brother, was born in Randolph, NH on March 19, 1884 and died in Riverside, CA on March 26,1978. He married Elizabeth M. (also listed as Mary E. in the 1930 Census, with birth of self and parents remaining the same) about 1911, and they had three daughters that I know about from the Federal Census: Theora, Phyllis and Anna. Ralph and May (Elizabeth/Mary) lived some 30 years in Hanover, NH, where he was a cook at the Dining Association, the Inn, and later at Mac’s for the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge above Warren, NH.

Here are two photos of Ralph Watson:

On Sunday, September 17, Eleanor wrote:

(Staying at Coldbrook lodge)

Arthur up at 7:00 to help dad (Laban). I laid till after 8:00. Didn’t go to Sunday School. Glenn called for Ernestine and sister to go autoing. Nelson Smith and friend off mt. and home. After dinner Pearl, Harry, Arthur, Harold and I went up to Ledge and view was great. Home after 5:00 and got ready to go home after supper. Dad (Laban) didn’t come from Glen until after 7:00 and we started at 8:00 got 9:30 car and nearly frozen. Brought vegetables home.

Note 1: Eleanor took this photo from Lookout Ledge which looks out towards Gorham, NH.

Note 2: Nelson Smith, a friend of my grandparents, had a private camp built in 1909 called Crag Camp located on the edge of Kings Ravine.Here is a picture of Crag Camp that my grandmother took most likely in 1913, which she had framed to give to my grandfather, Arthur that very same year on Christmas day.

Crag Camp is seen in the figures below.

On Monday, September 18, Eleanor wrote:

Not up till after 8:00 and tired from tramp. Fixed beans(green) and corn. Made apple pie, turnovers and sauce. Forgot to boil potatoes so put them on at 12:00 and Arthur ate one. Had nap. So cold built kitchen fire, rainy. In eve Arthur went over to Hospital to inquire for Bert Watson and he saw him. Bed tired.

Note: Herbert Watson (Laban’s brother Martin’s son) was born in 1867 and was a Railroad Track foreman who lived in Gilead, ME (next to Shelburne, NH) with his wife Alice.

On Tuesday, September 19, Eleanor wrote:

Cold- I washed and through in good season. Alice Watson here to dinner and off up to Hospital. Had nap and Mrs. Cook came. Waited till I dressed and we went downtown shopping. Alice came to supper. Arthur and I read in eve till 8:30. Alice over to Isabels all night.

On Sunday, October 1, Eleanor wrote:

Lovely sunny day but rather cool. Up at 8:30 and started veal to cooking. Cleaned up around. Arthur out to 3 or 4 cars met Mr.& Mrs. Watson (Laban and Anna) and Dora Beckurth came about 12:00 when we were making peach ice cream. Mr. W. brought corn and we had a real good dinner and nice time. Arthur and father down street after dinner while I did dishes. They left at 5:00 after having more ice cream. Took some downstairs. Found fires out so went to bed at 8:00.

Note: Eleanor’s Peach Ice Cream recipe and the Ad she used to obtain it are shown in the figures below.

On Sunday, October 15, Eleanor wrote:

(Having arrived in Randolph the previous day)

Warmer- Sunday School at Crosses. Edith (Boothman) and family up to Mt. View for dinner. Arthur froze ice cream. When Edith came back over to Miss Gaylord’s new bungalow.(Dema Gaylord was from Summit, NJ and purchased a cottage located on Durand Road). Edith told me about the new arrival expected in Dec. Home with Charlie Hamblenin auto and down in 15 min. Saw Myra a few minutes and talked with Dave till car came. Home at 7:30.Made hot choc. And toasted crackers on grill.

Note: Here is a photo of Jack Boothman, the new arrival, born Dec. 23, 1916.

On Monday, October 16, Eleanor wrote:

Up to wash and done quite early. Had short nap and up to Mrs. Cooks. Called to ask Mrs. Cutter to come to sew Thurs. and saw Mrs. Hooper down street. Did errands and home. Made hot biscuits for supper. Arthur got ready to go to Bethel. I sewed a little.

On Sunday, October 22, Eleanor wrote:

Ate breakfast about 10:00. Roasted lamb and cleaned up. George and Isabel came about 1:30 and then Arthur froze sherbert. Had dinner about 3:00. Had more sherbert and they left about 7:00. Arthur read and I went to bed.

George Watson (Laban’s brother Emery’s son) was born in 1868 and worked in a sawmill in Gorham, NH. He married Isabelle ney Potter from Gorham in 1895. They resided in Gorham and according to the Gorham Census did not have any children.

On Thursday, October 26, Eleanor wrote:

Rained hard in night but cleared fine. Read a couple of chapters in my book before doing up work. Shook rugs and took carpet sweeper around. Arthur’s father (Laban) came with corn, potatoes and after putting up horses came to dinner. I rested a bit after dinner, wrote a letter to mother and went up to Mrs. Cooks and we walked downtown.

On Friday, October 27, Eleanor wrote:

Read in Ladies Home Journal before doing up work, then dusted thoroughly all around. At noon time made cranberry and applesauce. Played on piano some and Mrs. Cutler and Mrs. Heck called. I mended till suppertime. Arthur and his father went to Democratic rally in eve and I sewed.

On Wednesday, November 1, Eleanor wrote:

Rainy, Made salad dressing and pumpkin pie and did ironing to get ready to go to Randolph on noon train. Started Arthur’s dinner. Began to pour on way to Lodge (Coldbrook). We sewed on baby’s clothes for Edith. Hunts stayed for supper so Mr. took me to train, also, Mr. W (Watson) and Harold (Boothman). Over with Ted. Arthur met me at station started to rain again. Had supper and bed about 9:00.

On Monday, November 6, Eleanor wrote:

Frosty morn.Washed done at 11:00. Milk froze on piazza. Yesterday nice hanging out, so warm. Wrote to mother and took in clothes. Made bread and prepared gems for breakfast and put beans to soak. Democrats had big parade with band and red fire Mon eve came up High St. and down Emery.

Note: Eleanor’s Gems Recipe appears in the figure below.

On Tuesday, November 7, Eleanor wrote:

Made cake, pumpkin pie and cooked bread, cranberry sauce and pea soup for dinner. Ironed some. Went down street shopping and came home and sewed. Lots of excitement for election day. To bed tired both of us.

On Thursday, November 9, Eleanor wrote:

Lovely warm day- Pa’s birthday (Eleanor’s father Walter Foss) Cleaned both bedrooms. Arthur hustled over to station to meet his mother(Anna) and Aunt Mercy. They came in auto and had dinner, then I finished my rooms and about 5:00 washed dinner dishes and cleaned myself up. Made bread in eve. and tired.

On Friday, November 10, Eleanor wrote:

Up early. Aunt Mercy went to Gorham at 9:00 and I cooked pie and turnovers and bread while Arthur’s mother knitted. Cleaned and took dry mop around. Mrs. W.(Anna) took long nap while I read news and mended. Bold
Arthur downtown in eve. and bought a new hat.

On Thursday, November 16, Eleanor wrote:

Some cold yet. Cleaned more kitchen cupboards and ironed. Had nap and sewed. Arthur worked till nearly 9:00 and we ate supper when he got home. Big Wilson parade by Democrats tonight. 12 autos and bands and red lights and sky rockets. Arthur packed to go to Bethel.

On Saturday, November 18, Eleanor wrote:

Not up till 8:00. Washed 9 windows outside it was so nice (warmer and melting). Then washed the storm windows down cellar. Got ready to go to Randolph on 3:00 train and hustled. Had to wait at station and John and Harold (Boothman) came for me. Sewed in eve. Arthur telephoned from Bethel to get his father to meet him on 11:20 train. Went to bed and woke up about 1:00 when Arthur came. Real good sleighing.

On Sunday, November 19, Eleanor wrote:

Last ones up. Went to Sunday School at Crosses. Had dandy chicken dinner. Made Chocolate Caramels for Marion (Boothman). Arthur laid down as his eyes felt bad. Oyster stew for supper. Arthur and I did dishes. Put up lunch for Arthur.

Note: The recipe for Marion Boothman (daughter of Edith and John Boothman)

On Monday, November 20, Eleanor wrote:

Up at 4:00 to get breakfast for Arthur and his father. Arthur went to Berlin on first car and off to Bethel on 8:00 train. I went back to bed until 7:15. Swept up downstairs and made beds. Sewed in afternoon.Wrote to Arthur in eve.

On Tuesday, November 21, Eleanor wrote:

Pretty cold. Helped around little. Mother W. taught me how to do tatting and in eve. Edith and I tatted.

On Wednesday, November 22, Eleanor wrote:

Warmer again and sunny. After doing up work, we tacked Dorothy’s quilt. Got ready to go to Sewing Circle at Mrs. Hunts. Lovely sleigh ride up. Did tatting in eve.

On Thursday, November 23, Eleanor wrote:

Helped some and got ready to go on noon train. Father W. took me to station found some bare places. Home at 1:00 and found lots of mail. After reading built a fire. Ruth wrote a fine letter saying that they (True, Eleanor’s brother and wife Ruth) had a dandy boy and a long letter from Ma, also, one from Arthur. Began to rain but went to P.O. and did a few errands. Home and looked over Ladies Home Journal and sewed. Read Berlin Reporter. Ate supper about 6:00. Sewed more till after 8:00.

Note: Anna and Laban Watson along with their son Arthur and his wife Eleanor took the train to spend Thanksgiving with Josephine (Watson) Chandler and her family in Meredith, NH.

For information on the Chandler family, click here.

On Thursday, November 30, Eleanor wrote:

Thanksgiving- Rainy all day long. Up at 5:30 and got the 6:45 train (for Winona). Father W. on at Randolph. Nice trip down in spite of rain. Did some tatting and read etc. Stopped 15 min. at Plymouth. Arrived about 1:00 in Winona. Dandy turkey for dinner and everything else. Children had dandy time, too. Had lunch in eve and George (Chandler) dressed 3 chickens for us.

On Friday, December 1, Eleanor wrote:

Cleared and colder- Took pictures after doing up breakfast dishes. Flora (Chandler) helped wipe them. Laban (Chandler) just 1 and a half years old. Had lunch about 11:00 and off again. Waited at Plymouth a half an hour. Arrived at Woodsville about 2:30 and waited about 1 and a half hours. Arthur and I walked all around and went in one or two stores. Changed again at Whitefield Jef. Father and Mother off at Randolph and we reached home 6:45. Built kitchen fire and made hot chocolate. Did up dishes and to bed about 8:00.

On Saturday, December 2, Eleanor wrote:

Snow- Arthur fried potatoes in bacon fat for breakfast. I fixed beans, brown bread and chocolate pudding, also, dusted around and cleaned bathroom. Not through till nearly 3:00. Did tatting till supper time. Arthur went back to work till after 9:00. I laid down a while and tatted.

Note: On December, 18 Eleanor left for Portland, Maine on the 8:00 am train to spend the Christmas Holiday with her family. And so ends the year.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

July 26, 2010 Talk in Randolph, NH - Excerpts

N.B. I have added to this post an Addendum, which aims to connect people, places, and dates with their rightful families, based on my continuing research on the Watson family. In this update, I address some of the conflicting details that exist elsewhere online, for Ruth (née Griffin) Watson.

Scroll down to read ADDENDUM

In doing my ancestry research on the Watsons that settled in Randolph, I came across some information that dates these Watsons back to the 1600s. Here is a brief overview of their lineage leading up to Stephen’s family, the first Watsons to settle in Randolph, New Hampshire.

I’ll begin with John Watson, who predates the people in the tree shown above. He was born c. 1660, settled in Salisbury, Massachusetts and married Ruth Griffin there on March 22, 1687-8. [1] They in turn had 6 children, one of whom was a son named Ebenezer, who lived in Newbury, Massachusetts. Ebenezer married Martha Rawlins, who had a son Eliphalet born in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1717. Eliphalet moved to the Coast of Maine, ending up in Gorham, Maine, where he was the 5th settler in the town. On April 29, 1740, Eliphalet married Elizabeth Phinney, the daughter of Capt. John and Martha (née Coleman) Phinney, the first settlers of Gorham, Maine. Eliphalet and Elizabeth remained in Gorham during the Indian war of 1746, where they lived in a fort for several years enduring the hardships of war. Two of their 10 children, Ebenezer born in 1748 and Coleman (Stephen’s father) born in 1751, were reportedly born in that garrison. Coleman lived in West Gorham, Maine and Buxton, Maine before settling in Waterford, Maine as early as c. 1779. [2] On September 8, 1774, Coleman married Patience Thomes (née Whitney) in Gorham, Maine, [3] and they had 8 children, their eldest son being Stephen, who was born on Dec. 19, 1776 in Gorham, Maine [2] or Waterford, Maine [4], depending on which Vital Record is correct.

Note: During this period, when the onus fell on the parents to register the birth of their offspring, the practice of recording children as being born in one or more towns was not uncommon. So, if Stephen’s parents were residents of Waterford, ME at the time of his birth, yet he was born in Gorham, ME, this practice explains how his birth came to be recorded in both Gorham and Waterford, ME.
And that brings us to the first Watson to settle in Randolph, Stephen Watson. On Oct. 12, 1802, Stephen married Hannah Nurse (née Whitcomb) in Waterford, Maine. [4]

Note: Hannah Whitcomb who was born in Massachusetts married John Nurse on May 10, 1797 in Boxborough, MA. [8]

Meanwhile, in Maine, during the War of 1812, British army and naval forces from nearby Nova Scotia captured and occupied the eastern coast of Maine from Machias to Castine. Castine was occupied by the British in Sept of 1814, and it was at that time that Stephen joined Lieut. Col Ryerson’s regiment [5] that was raised at Norway, Maine which marched to Portland, Maine to answer the call of a potential British attack on Portland Harbor. Then, circa 1826, Stephen moved his family, which included his wife, 2 daughters, Lois and Mary, and their 3 sons, John, William, and Abel, from Waterford to Randolph. It could be that they arrived with only one daughter, Lois, as no record is available for Mary after 1820. Their first child Lois Fairbanks married Justus Low. Low was a prominent family name at that time in Randolph and still is today.

Stephen bought from Elaska Jackson a little clearing with a log house and many acres up and down the Moose River. He cut, burned, and cleared the land for a few years and drowned attempting to cross the Moose River in time of flood. [6]

Stephen had two sons who lived in Randolph - John, who was a reverend, selectman and farmer and his brother Abel, also a farmer, who played a role in the establishment of the Ravine House. But William, the second son of Stephen and Hannah studied medicine at a medical college in Philadelphia. He began his practice in Skowhegan, Maine and later moved to Randolph around the 1840s, staying several years before moving to Palmyra, Maine. He married Elmira B.(née Lary) from Shelburne, New Hampshire and, they had three children.

Here in the figure above is Abel Watson seen on the left with his son Laban Watson on the right.

Abel was born in Waterford, Maine on May 24, 1818 and died in Randolph on February 18, 1895. He married Susan Holmes and they had 5 sons and a daughter who were born between 1842 and 1852. Years later, in the 1860s after Susan had died, Abel married Mrs. Cordelia (née Wight) Burbank* of Shelburne, New Hampshire, and they had 2 children together.

Laban Morrill Watson was born in Randolph on May 14, 1850, the son of Abel and Susan Holmes Watson. Laban was schooled in a small block house built of spruce logs by his uncle John Watson. This dwelling located at the foot of the Amphibrach was later owned by R.A. Cutter and named "Echo Cabin". [7]

In the 1870s, when Abel was in his 50s, he and his son decided that they would transform their small farmhouse into a house large enough to accommodate 20 guests. They placed an ad in the now- defunct Boston Transcript inviting guests to stay at The Mount Madison House, the name they gave this new structure, for the price of $5 per week. The following season, in 1877, the Mt. Madison House opened under the new name of the Ravine House. [6]

Laban was actively involved in serving his mountain community and had a significant list of accomplishments such as Ravine House proprietor, pioneer path maker in the Northern peaks and in Randolph, builder of several domiciles in Randolph, supervisor, in 1888, of the 1st hut to be built on Mt. Madison. He also served in the Legislature in 1878, 1881, 1917 and 1923. He died in Randolph on Oct. 1, 1936.

Note: Laban served in the Legislature in the later part of the 1800s, returning to that body 36 years later in 1917. I mention this detail because one thing that will come out in the second half of my grandmother Eleanor’s 1916 diary entries (to be posted later this year) is his life-long interest in politics: he attends a Democratic rally in October and other such events leading up to the November 7, 1916 presidential election of Woodrow Wilson.

Seen in the pictures below are Laban’s wife Anna taken when she was in her teens and much later, in 1917, holding Eleanor’s first child.

Anna Burbank was born on September 7, 1854 in Shelburne, New Hampshire and died in 1928 in Randolph, New Hampshire.In 1873, Laban and his step-sister Anna Burbank were married, and, a few years later, they took on the responsibility of being proprietors of the Ravine House, which they maintained for the next 32 years (i.e., until 1909), when the house was sold to William Bradstreet.

Laban and Anna had six children: Walter born in 1875 and Leon born in 1880 (they lived for only one year apiece), Edith born in 1878, then Arthur born in 1882, followed by Ralph in 1884 and Clara Josephine in 1888.
Anna was a homemaker extraordinaire, doing all the usual household activities in addition to accommodating summer guests: spending time with her grandchildren, sewing, knitting, quilt making, and even taking time to teach Eleanor tatting.{A technique for handcrafting durable lace constructed by a series of knots and loops. Tatting can be used to make lace edging as well as doilies, collars, and other decorative pieces}

My grandmother mentioned in her diary making collars which she gave as gifts.

For a picture and bio of Cordelia, see my post dated May 2, 2010 (click here). 

Primary References
[1] The old families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts by David Webster Hoyt
[2] Genealogical and family history of the state of Maine, Volume 2 Henry Sweetser Burrage, Albert Roscoe Stubbs[3] Town Records of Gorham, Maine
[4] Maine Vital Records – Town Hall Waterford, Maine
[5] Records of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia published by Brig. Genl. Gardner W. Pearson – The Adjutant General of Massachusetts[6] Randolph Old and New - Its Ways and Its By-Ways by George N. Cross-1924

[7] In Memoriam Laban M. Watson 1850-1936

[8] Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT, Film #0873746
Additional Resources:
Randolph, New Hampshire 150 Years, Town of RandolphTown Hall records of Waterford, and Gorham, Maine

The History of Waterford, Oxford County, Maine, Hoyt, Fogg and Donham 1879

Genealogical and Family History of the State of Maine, Lewis Historical Publishing Company New York 1909

The Watson family story is still a work in progress, and I will continue to update the history, as I uncover new information. 


This update will focus on the Ruth Griffin who married John Watson on 22 Mar 1687/88, as recorded in a vital record in both Salisbury and Amesbury, MA.[13],[17]. First, I'll discuss the issue of Ruth (Griffin) Watson, who lived in Salisbury being mistaken for the Ruth Griffin from Connecticut. Second, Ruth (Griffin) Watson has been listed on various websites, incorrectly, as marrying Thomas Ayer of Haverhill, MA. I will address both of these matters below.

In this addendum, contrary to some other online accounts, I have made two primary conclusions:

First, the Ruth Griffin who was born in Connecticut, MA was not the Ruth Griffin who married John Watson in Salisbury, MA in 1687/88.

Second, the Ruth Griffin who married John Watson in Salisbury, MA in 1687/88 was not the Ruth Watson who married Thomas Ayer of Haverhill, MA.

My first conclusion is based on the following evidence, which answers the question of who Ruth Griffin from CT was:

Ruth Griffin, b. 21 Jan 1665 and d. 27 Aug 1719, was the daughter of John Griffin [Simsbury, CT] and Anna Bancroft. Ruth was one of 10 children. She was born in Windsor, Hartford, CT on 21 Jan 1665 and died in Simsbury, CT on 27 Aug 1719. [1a] No CT marriage record exists for her in the foremost sources, [1a],[1b] and several well documented listings refer to her as unmarried without children. [2a],[2b] Moreover, it was common practice back in that period for a woman to be married in the town where she grew up. Another indication that she was childless comes from a will that Ruth Griffin from CT left just before her death. In this will, Ruth bequeathed to Ann Higley, widow of Jonathan Higley, and her daughter Mary Higley, six pounds between them out of her estate. [3]

Now to address the question (implicitly raised in the Geni.com profile) of who was or was not the Ruth Watson who married Thomas Ayers of Haverhill, MA on 14 Nov 1716. [13]

My second conclusion is based on the following documentation, which answers the question of which Ruth married Thomas Ayers of Haverhill, MA and died (along with her daughter) in Haverhill, MA:

There are references in many/trees online for Ruth (née Griffin) Watson/Ayer which cite a sentence from The History of Haverhill as evidence to support the belief that Ruth (Griffin), widow of John Watson, became the spouse of Thomas Ayer. This excerpt from the aforementioned book states: "The following is a list of the slain who belonged to the town; Ruth Ayer, wife of Thomas Ayer, and one daughter;" [7] (pg.225) I have left out the names of the other fourteen individuals mentioned in this account for the sake of brevity.

In order to set the correct time frame of this couple, I have included some historical context from The History of Haverhill leading up to the death of this Ruth and child: "The next meeting of the Commoners, was July 21, 1707, when nothing was done except to adjourn to September 2d." [7] (pg.215) "At the Commoners' meeting of September 2d, Thomas Ayer petitioned 'for a small piece of land to set a house on near the Meeting house, that so the said Ayer's wife might be the better accommodated for the keeping of school to teach children to read.' "The selectmen were empowered to lay him out a piece for that purpose, to enjoy during her lifetime." [7] (pg.216)

The following footnote on page 216 clarifies who this Thomas and Ruth Ayer were:

"Thomas Ayer married Ruth Wilford. Children, Ruth, born 1695; Josiah, born 1698; Thomas, born 1699; Gibberd, born 1702; Ruth, born 1705, killed by Indians August 29, 1708. Ruth the wife, was also killed at the same time. Ayer afterward married the widow Blasedell. Children, Ruth, born 1711, died young."
Thomas Ayer married 2nd Dorothy [Martin] Blasedell. [9]

The footnote above, along with a corresponding vital record [8], which place the marriage date (1694) of Ruth Wilford to Thomas Ayer of Haverhill and the death date (1708) of Ruth Wilford and her child Ruth to the identical time frame of the Indian massacre in (1708), should rule out the prevalent misconception that Ruth (née Griffin) Watson was married to this Thomas Ayer from Haverhill, MA.

Note: Thomas Ayer was born June 9, 1666 in Haverhill, MA to Thomas Ayer and Elizabeth Hutchins. [ma-vitalrecords.org of Haverhill, Essex, MA]

To learn more about The Raid of Haverhill, which took place in 1708, see [7] Chapter XIV (Indian Troubles 1700-1710) and [21], [22].

Further evidence that Ruth (née Griffin) Watson was not the Ruth who was killed in 1708 by Indians comes from the publication Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, which cites the following record: Thomas Ayers of Haverhill marries Ruth Watson of Salisbury Nov. 14, 1716. [10],[11] Then, under "Additions and Corrections," there is an addition to that previous record [11] which states that Ruth Ayer, wid. of Thomas, d. in Methuen, March 17, 1734. [10],[12] A vital record also validates this record. [14]

The marriage date of Ruth (née Griffin) Watson and Thomas Ayer in 1716 and the death date of Ruth Ayer in 1734 both conflict with the account that Thomas Ayers married Ruth Wilford in 1694 and the account that Ruth and her daughter were killed by Indians in Haverhill, MA in 1708.

Another source of much speculation on who this Ruth Watson was comes from Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury which states:

"v RUTH b.____; bp. Nov. 2, 1707; liv. 1710;prob. m. Nov 14, 1716 [S], Thomas Ayers of Hv. [Possibly her mother m. Ayers?]" [10] (pg.342).

If this Ruth (child of John Watson and Ruth Griffin), who was baptized on Nov. 2, 1707, married Thomas Ayer on Nov. 14, 1716, she would have been around 9 years old at that time. The other speculation was that it was possibly her mother Ruth (Griffin), who married Thomas Ayers. But this was also unlikely as Ruth, who was born circa 1660, was married in 1687/88, when she would have been in her mid 20s. Ruth (the mother) would have been in her mid 50s at the time of that marriage in 1716 and not of childbearing age.

I think it is important to note here that the Ayer family was among the early settlers of Haverhill, and their descendants were very numerous and scattered throughout nearly every state in the union. In 1700, it was supposed that nearly one third of the inhabitants of the town were of that name. [7] (pg.73) Even though we can see more clearly who this Ruth Watson is not, it does not resolve the identity of which Ruth Watson married which Thomas Ayer from Haverhill.

To summarize, the documents show that Ruth Griffin who was born in Connecticut, MA was unmarried and was not the Ruth Griffin who married John Watson in Salisbury, MA. As for the Ruth Watson who married Thomas Ayer of Haverhill, the timeline of events, along with the additional information about whom this Thomas Ayer married, in the footnote above, makes the case that Ruth (née Griffin) Watson/Ayer (who has been said to have married Thomas Ayers in Haverhill in 1716) was not married to this particular Thomas Ayer of Haverhill, MA. It was Ruth Wilford. The question still remains as to who this Ruth Watson was who married Thomas Ayer of Haverhill in 1716. Such a resolution would require further research, since there is more than one Ruth Watson and more than one Thomas Ayer in the vicinity around this period, and all it takes is one small mistake in a vital record to lead you down the wrong path.

As time permits, I plan to continue searching for convincing evidence for the birth date and birthplace, of John Watson along with his wife (Ruth Griffin) who also lacks a death date and place of death.

Note: I used the following information below to update the children of John and Ruth (née Griffin) Watson on Geni.com, in order to be as accurate as possible based on what is currently known:

Ebenezer Watson, b. circa 1693, probably in Salisbury, MA: I have not found a record of his birth, after checking vital records at the New England Historical Genealogical Society, where I checked Salisbury and the surrounding towns, although references to his existence appear in various other accounts e.g. [4] I'm including him in the list of children because in his father's will of 1710 Ebenezer is mentioned twice. [5] In this will, John Watson grants unto his son Ebenezer thirty shilens to be paid to him by his son Abraham when his son Ebenezer comes of age (of one and twenty years) John also grants his son Jonathan the same amount when he reaches age 21 and grants his daughter Ruth thirty shilens to be paid to her when she turns 18.

As for a death record, one exists for an Ebenezer Watson in Tewksbury, MA, with no supplemental evidence to indicate who this Ebenezer Watson was. I contacted the Tewksbury Town Clerk who looked up the record and said there was no mention of parents on the death certificate, only the name Ebenezer Watson. She suggested that I check with the Tewksbury State Hospital, which has some old records but, alas, they did not have one for an Ebenezer Watson. His death in Tewksbury, certainly begs the question of what brought him to Tewksbury after living in Newbury most of his life with children from two separate marriages. 

Ruth Watson baptized on Nov 1707 - child of John Watson and Ruth Griffin of Salisbury, MA. [13] The Ruth Watson baptized 14 Sep 1697 (listed in the Geni.com profile) belongs to the family of John Watson and Ruth Hartshorn of Bradford, MA. [15]

I have found no vital record for Nicodemus Watson, no mention of him in the will, no listings for him in most well documented accounts online and only a reference to the publication, The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts. I have checked volumes 1 through 3 and have not found his name listed in the aforementioned publication.

The family of John Watson and Ruth (Griffin) Watson

JOHN WATSON b. circa 1660 [6] possibly England? and died 25 Apr 1710 in Salisbury, MA. [13],[17]

RUTH GRIFFIN b. circa 1660 No valid vital record of her birth or death has been found to date, and one can only speculate if she emigrated from England or was born in one of the colonies.  


Abraham Watson, b. 13 Dec 1688 Salisbury, MA. [13]; m. Mary Severance, 14 Mar 1711/12,Salisbury/Amesbury, MA [13],[17]

John Watson, b. 11 Sep 1690, Salisbury, MA [13]; d. 1691, Salisbury, MA [13]

Ebenezer Watson, b. circa 1693, probably Salisbury, Essex, MA; d. 27 Aug 1754 Tewksbury, MA [16]? m. 10 Jul 1716 Martha Rawlins [13],[18] m. 21 Aug 1732 Eliner Long [18]

Hannah Watson, b. 5 Apr 1695, Salisbury, MA; d.12 Apr 1695, Salisbury, MA [13] Listed under Wotson

Jonathan Watson, b. 12 Oct 1696, Salisbury, MA [13]; m. Eleanor Flanders, 20 May 1726, Amesbury, MA [19]

Ruth Watson, bp. 2 Nov 1707, Salisbury, MA [13]

Note: I have intentionally left out the children from the marriages of Abraham, Ebenezer and Jonathan, as that is beyond the scope of this update and requires additional analysis.


[1a] CT Vital Records to 1870-The Barbour Collection compiled from an original Lucius Barnes Barbour typescript in the New England Historic Genealogical Society special collections.

[1b] Simsbury Connecticut Births, Marriages and Deaths Transcribed from the town records and published by Albert C. Bates - Hartford 1898.

[2a] http://bit.ly/1LM5KZ0

[2b] http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~walkersj/griffin.html

[3] https://books.google.com/books/about/Hartford_district_1700_1729.html?id=sW0c0dwWEYoC (pg.391)

[4] http://dunhamwilcox.net/me/me_bio_watson.htm

[5] Will of John Watson proved on June 5, 1710 (Probate Records of Essex County, MA).

[6] Note: There are accounts of John's birth in different publications that vary from circa 1650 to 1660. I support the circa 1660 version as a more realistic time frame for his marriage and subsequent children.

[7] The History of Haverhill, Massachusetts-From its first Settlement, in 1640, to the year 1860. Published in 1861 by the author, George Wingate Chase. 

[8] "Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910," database, FamilySearch: 12 Jun 1694 Thomas Ayer to Ruth Wilford in Haverhill, MA.

[9] "Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910," database, FamilySearch: 1710 Thomas Ayer to Dorothy Blasedell in Haverhill, MA.

[10] The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts; with some related families of Newbury, Haverhill, Ipswich, and Hampton. Vol I by David W. Hoyt

[10],[11] Unclassified Records (pg.43) #7.

[10],[12] Additions and Corrections (pg.378) #7

Note: Vital Records [13]-[18] can be found online at http://ma-vitalrecords.org/

[13] VR of Salisbury, Essex, MA

[14] VR of Methuen, Essex, MA

[15] VR of Bradford, Essex, MA

[16] VR of Tewksbury, Middlesex, MA

[17] VR of Amesbury, Essex, MA

[18] VR of Newbury, Essex, MA

[19] "Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910," database, FamilySearch

[20] In order not to contribute more confusion, when citing the publication The History of Haverhill, I have used the spelling "Ayer" which is used throughout the book. In contrast, the references used in Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts use both spellings"Ayer" and "Ayers," that is, some have an "s" at the end. Just as the surname Ayer has many alternative spellings, Griffin also has multiple spellings e.g., Griffyn, Griffen, Griffin, etc. I have chosen to use the most commonly used spelling which appears to be Griffin.

[21] History is Stories blog:The Raid on Haverhill, MA (1708) https://historyisstories.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/the-raid-of-haverhill-ma-1708/

[22] Raid on Haverhill (1708) at Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raid_on_Haverhill_(1708)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Comings and Goings of Life in Randolph, NH in 1916 - Part I

My grandmother Eleanor F. Watson chronicled life in 1916 in her diary, as she and her husband Arthur interacted with the townspeople of Randolph participating in seasonal outdoor activities such as snowshoeing, tobogganing and hiking plus indoor activities such as cooking, sewing and quilt making.

In previous posts, I focused on the activities that she penned in her 1914 diary, with a focus on Gorham and Berlin, NH. I will now present a new entry to my blog in two posts: post one (or part one) – January through June, 1916 and post two (or part two) - July through December, 1916 to be completed at a later date.

In parts one and two of this story, everyone from Arthur’s family will be depicted, mostly from diary entries and accompanying period photographs from Eleanor’s photo album whenever they are available. (If you want to read about Eleanor herself, refer to my March 16, 2009 post.) I will include genealogical information mainly about my relatives who are mentioned in the diary entries, for there will be other people mentioned about whom I don’t have enough to go on to piece together who they were.

Many of the families mentioned below have made major contributions to the development and growth of this mountain community by farming the land, building fine summer and year-round houses, huts, and trails, and providing lodging and mountain guides for summer guests in the beloved hotels. There are many interesting stories that could be based on these individuals. Unfortunately, so as to contain the size of this entry, I will elaborate on the contributions of only some of them. For the others, I have focused on who they were rather than what they accomplished in my desire to give some context to their diary entries.

My grandfather, Arthur Laban Watson, was born in Randolph, NH on July 2, 1882 the son of Anna and Laban Watson, proprietors of the Ravine House [3] for over 30 years. Arthur had two sisters, Edith born in 1878 and Clara Josephine born in 1887 who went by the name Josephine. He also had a brother Ralph born in 1884 (in addition, there were two brothers Walter and Leon who died in their first year of life). My grandmother photographed many of Arthur’s activities in Randolph beginning in 1911. Thus, he can be seen in the slideshows below called “Randolph, NH 1911-1913” and “Tramping in the White Mountains” participating in haying, maple sugaring, hunting, camping and hiking along with a stint working for the U.S.F.S. He attended Gould Academy in Bethel, ME and later became a stationary engineer (someone who works on boilers, steam turbines, air compressors/pumps or refrigeration machinery).

At 31, he married my grandmother Miss Eleanor Foss, a teacher from Portland, ME, who taught school in the single-room schoolhouse in Randolph, NH during 1911-1912. The schoolhouse and her students can be seen in the slideshow “Randolph, NH 1911 – 1913.” They married on Sept. 27, 1913 and set up house in an apartment on Third Ave in Berlin, NH. His first job after marriage was working at the YMCA in Berlin, NH. They later purchased a house at 169 Church Street in Berlin, NH, where they remained until their move to Fall River, MA. In 1936, he and Eleanor moved to North Dartmouth, MA, where he worked until retirement at Braley’s Creamery in North Dartmouth, MA. He and Eleanor had three children: Frances, born in 1917, who lived to be 5 and a half, my father Morrill b.1924 d.1969 and his brother Raymond born in 1928. My grandfather died in New Bedford, Mass in 1962 and was buried along with my grandmother and father in the Randolph, NH Cemetery.

Three generations of the Watson Family

{click on image above for larger view}

I found this photo, printed on a Shorey Studio postcard in my grandmother’s collection of Watson memorabilia. She wrote on the back of the postcard that the car was a Maxwell. And, I’d have to say that the car dates to 1909, based on the details seen in an ad of the period which, interestingly enough, promotes the car for “touring through the mountains.”

To see the ad, click here.

For additional information on Maxwell cars click here.

In the photo above:

Arthur Watson is seen behind the wheel with Laban Watson to his left. Ralph Watson is directly behind Laban with Edith Watson [Boothman] to his right and Josephine Watson [Chandler] is sitting next to Edith. Anna Watson [Burbank], Laban's wife, is sitting in the back in full view next to her mother Cordelia [Wight] [Burbank] Watson.

Some background on Cordelia [Wight] [Burbank] Watson:

Cordelia is probably about 83 or 84 in the photo above, since I believe this picture was taken circa 1910.

In 1860, Cordelia, then 32, was living in Shelburne, NH with her first husband Lemuel B. Burbank (a farmer also from Maine) and their two children Anna and Charles. In 1870, we find Cordelia married to a well known farmer living in Randolph, NH, Abel Watson, who played a key role in the early beginnings of the Ravine House. At this time, Abel and Cordelia were living at their farm on Durand Road with the two children they bore together, William and Hannah, along with Cordelia’s daughter from her first marriage, Anna Burbank, and Abel Watson’s two sons Laban and Jerome from his first marriage to Susan Holmes. I think it is safe to say that this is how Laban and Anna came to know each other and later marry and have their own children. Cordelia died in Randolph, NH on June 12, 1912 and lived to be 85 years and 9 months.

Cordelia in the Ravine House with her 1800s Spinning Wheel. Photo circa 1900.

For an example of a similar spinning wheel, click here.

An aside:

I asked my grandmother if she knew what happened to this spinning wheel in the picture and she said that it was handed down to Arthur, and he later sold it to an Antique Dealer. I believe the framed painting seen in this picture on the wall was a watercolor done by one of the regular summer guests, William H. Peek, which shows a house in the foreground with Mts. Madison and Adams looming behind.

I will now pick up with Eleanor and Arthur Watson who have been married a little over two years and are still living on Third Ave, in Berlin, N.H.

On Saturday, January 1 Eleanor writes:

Murle and Cecil spending “Honeymoon” with us. Holiday for Arthur so not up till around 10:00. Had breakfast and dinner at 11:00. Dressed for snowshoeing and over to Randolph on noon train. Walked up track from station and all but me went to falls. [This would have been Coldbrook Falls in Randolph] Home on 6:30 and had beans.

[Murle and Cecil Hodgdon were married in Biddeford, ME and left by train for Portland to visit relatives before heading on to Berlin, NH. to stay with Arthur and Eleanor. Murle Stackpole was Eleanor’s father’s sister’s daughter.]

Randolph Station, on the Whitefield & Jefferson Branch of the Boston & Maine R.R., was 1 1/4 miles from the Ravine House in Randolph, NH. [2]

On Sunday, January 2 Eleanor writes:

Not up till 9:00. Murle and Cecil got ready to go home after a weeks visit with us. Had dinner with us at 2:30. Storming so bad they had a carriage and off on 3:20. After doing the dishes read papers and developed a film in eve. Not very successful.

On Sunday, January 9 Eleanor writes:

Lovely sunny day. Arthur set up new tank. Others went to S.S.[Sunday School] at Mabel Lowes [daughter of Thaddeus and Fanny Lowe of Randolph, NH. - age 19 in 1916] Started home about 5:00. Stopped at Osgoods for car. Home at 7:30 and fires kept quite well. Fixed bread.

On Wednesday, January 12 Eleanor writes:

I mended and finished the ironing. After dinner went up to see Mrs. Wight. Her son Walter, home from Hospital.[Mrs. Ada Wight was from Oxford, Maine. She moved from Maine in the early 1900s and was living in Berlin, NH in 1910 with her son Leslie and her daughter Mary. She also had an older son Walter, who was living in Oxford, Maine at the time. The Wights can be seen in a slide show below] Mrs. Harry Noyes came while I was there. Down to P.O. on my way home. Stopped and talked to Mrs. Johnson. In eve Arthur and I made cream candy and it wouldn’t harden. Beat it more and set it to cool. Took baths and candy wasn’t hard.

{click on image above for larger view}

Note: Eleanor was given this Fannie Farmer Cookbook for a Christmas present in 1914. She always wrote comments in her cookbook on whether or not a recipe was good or bad. Apparently this recipe, although marked “good,” had some shortcomings.

On Thursday, January 13 Eleanor writes:

Arthur up and got his breakfast. I got up about 7:45. Washed kit. floor. Arthur’s father [Laban] here to dinner and brought us vegetables and potatoes. Over to Mrs. Cooks in P.M. to sew. Had hot chocolate. Home at 5:00. In eve Arthur went to see Dr. Pulsifer and found out he was pretty well. I mended.

On Monday, January 17 Eleanor writes:

Arthur off on early train [to Randolph] and I washed. Thru at 10:30, then darned a pair of hose and packed for Randolph. Blustery and cold. At noon Mrs. Riva came over with telephone message from Mrs. Cook saying she would not go to club. So I decided it was so bad to go on 3:15 to Randolph. Took rubber plant over to Riva’s. Wind blew fierce in Randolph. Read till Mr. Watson [Laban] came. Dave stayed at Lodge all night. Popped corn in eve. Cold

Note: Whenever Eleanor and Arthur stayed in Randolph, they always stayed at his parent’s home on Durand Road, which was called Coldbrook Lodge. Eleanor took this winter photo of Coldbrook Lodge in 1912 -1913.

The aerial photo below of Coldbrook Lodge was taken by Winston Pote in early May c. 1945.

On Wednesday, January 19 Eleanor writes:

Didn’t sleep well so not up very early. Didn’t do much. Wrote to Frances. [older sister living in Portland, ME]. After dinner Mr. Watson took us 3 over to Florence Whites to the Ladies Sewing Circle and we worked on baby clothes. About 15 there. Home at 5:00 and found Arthur home. Bed early again. Arthur’s walk tires him some.

On Thursday, January 20 Eleanor writes:

Up at 7:30. Swept up and started my luncheon napkins. Had an early dinner to go to Gorham. Four of us in big sleigh. Helped Edith [Arthur’s sister] pick out hat and home on electrics. Found fires ready to start. Snowed on way home. I worked on my napkins when warm and looked at Ladies Home Journal. Arthur came about 7:00 and we had tomato soup.

Here is a 1912-1913 picture of Arthur in a sleigh outside of Coldbrook Lodge.

On Friday, January 28 Eleanor writes:

Cleaned up whole house. Sewed some and through work early. Dressed changed at 2:00. Over to Mrs. Riva’s and sewed. In eve Arthur and I went to see Leslie [Wight] who has had grippe. Mrs. Wight not feeling real good. Growing colder tonight and icy.

On Tuesday, February 1 Eleanor writes:

Up at 5:30. Had plenty of time for train. Nice trip down. [ Eleanor would visit her family several times a year in Portland, ME. On this trip she was accompanied by Arthur’s sister Edith Boothman of Randolph, NH.] Went to the store and out home for dinner. In town and Edith and I bought suits. Home for supper and I went to club in to Louise’s. Fine time. [ Eleanor and her sister Frances leave Portland on Feb 12, and Frances returns with Eleanor staying at her home in Berlin until Feb 21.]

On Saturday, February 19 Eleanor writes:

Snow in A.M. I made a cake and cookies, ironed some and got ready to go to Randolph on 12:05. Left Arthur’s dinner all ready. Met Harold at Station. Mr. Watson met us in Randolph and the wind blew some. Fierce cold.Telephoned for Arthur to come over on 3:15. He drove 4 horse team for his dad to Station for Appalachian Mountain Club. Had two tables of Fantan [card game] in eve.

The Ravine House colts pulling the wagon in the 1913 photo below would have been typical for the period, but Arthur probably used a larger wagon for transporting AMC members.

On Sunday, February 20 Eleanor writes:

Last ones up and pretty cold. Nelson Smith and friend at Lodge [Coldbrook]. Edith, John, Marion, Francis W. Earl, Frances F. Arthur and I walked up to Jacksons only 4 degrees above. Arrived here at 5:00 made quick connection at crossing. Had Welsh Rabbit made in grill.

Eleanor took the picture below of 6 of the 7 people she mentions in the outing. Arthur is in the forefront holding Eleanor’s camera case. Behind him left to right are Frances (Eleanor’s sister), Edith Boothman (Arthur’s sister), John Boothman (Edith’s husband), Marion Boothman (daughter), and Francis Wood.

Edith Boothman (daughter of Laban and Anna Watson) was born in Randolph on February 18, 1878 and died April 19, 1957. Edith married John Boothman (a skilled craftsman, architect and builder) they had three children Marion, Harold and John.

In 1910, Edith and John are living at Coldbrook Lodge with their two children Marion, and Harold, Edith's two brothers, Arthur and Ralph ( both brothers soon to be married ) and Anna and Laban Watson along with Anna's mother Cordelia. In 1920, Edith and John are still living at Coldbrook with their three children (John was born in 1917) and Laban and Anna Watson. In 1923, Mr. and Mrs. John Boothman purchased the Mt. Crescent House property and Edith ran the hotel successfully until his death in 1952.[1] Her son John, (known as Jack) and his wife, Gwen Shorey Boothman, carried on the management for the next 20 years.[2]

The Mount Crescent House was built for summer boarders by Ingalls Leighton in 1883 and opened for business the following summer under the name Randolph Hill House (which was changed to the Mount Crescent House in1894). [1] The hotel was torn down in 1971 [2], yet still conjures up many fond remembrances in former guests and staff alike.

These photos of the Mt. Crescent House were taken by Eleanor in 1917.

Eleanor mentions in her Feb. 20th diary entry above that the group walked up to Jackson’s. I believe that the “Jackson” she is referring to is Ernest Jackson.

In 1915, Mr. Ernest Jackson, of Brookyln, bought a farm on Randolph Hill formally known as the Abel Jackson place. The following season, Mr. Jackson converted the farm into a country estate, building a fine house and a beautiful temple-like music room (not seen in photo). The estate was known as “Highacres.” [1]

High Acres also accommodated up to 20 summer guests and was in operation from 1929 to 1957. [2]

Eleanor took the 1916 -1917 photo below, which she labeled “High Acres.”

On Monday, February 21 Eleanor writes:

24 degrees below. Frances up to go off on 8:01 train. I went to station with her. Cold walking home. Ironed and cleaned up. Went to Woman’s Club, met Bessie B. at City Hall. Down town later. Hot soup for supper.

On Saturday, March 11 Eleanor writes:

Made 2 kinds of cookies, blueberry pie, and chocolate cake, and brown bread, also beans. Went to movies that Woman’s Club gave for the children at Gem. Mollie Wight [nickname for Mary? Wight mentioned above] and her friend, Miss Ells, down when we were eating supper and wants us to go to camp tomorrow as chaperones. Baths.

On Sunday, March 12 Eleanor writes:

Up at 8:00 got ready to go to camp. 5 of us rode up on car, while Leslie and Arthur hauled toboggan and snowshoes. Perfect day and Mts. grand. Up to camp about 11:00. Boys made fire then we had some tobogganing. Johnson up soon after. Had oyster stew about 1:00. Then had more sliding. Miss Ell’s sister and Mr. Read came up later. Started home about 6:00. Some tired when we reached home.

Winter outing at the camp

On Tuesday, March 14 Eleanor writes:

Homer’s birthday. [Eleanor’s younger brother] Snowed in A.M. but cleared by noon. Made salad dressing and baked bread. Got ready to go to church on 1:20 car. Mrs. Johnson on that car, too. Had 36 to circle. Served banana salad, hot rolls, coffee, and crackers. Mrs. Burbank helped us and 3 or 4 served.

On Saturday, April 8 Eleanor writes:

Sun melting snow fast. Cleaned dining room. Got ready to go to Randolph. Went to movies and met Mrs.Gooding and Hooper going in. Saw “Alice in Wonderland.” Arthur came home to change clothes. Took 5:40 car. Arthur’s father met us.

On Sunday, April 9 Eleanor writes:

Snowed last night and all day. Terrible wind. Made candy in A.M. Rex with boys. Uncle Sid carried us down at 3:30 and just made a car. Nice sleigh ride. Built warm fire and made cocoa.

On Saturday, April 15 Eleanor writes:

Lovely sunny day. Did lots of cooking. Arthur came at noon and said his father and mother were coming. Cleaned up spare room and went down for my hat. They came about 4:30. Sewed in eve.

On Saturday, April 16 Eleanor writes:

Warm – Palm Sunday. Had breakfast about 9:00. Roasted beef and dinner after 3:00. George and Isabel came. Did up dishes afterwards. About 8:00 Mrs. Porter and Elsie came. Had welsh rabbit and to bed at 10:30

[George Watson, born in 1868, was the son of Emery and Elmira Watson. Emery’s parents were Abel and Susan Watson of Randolph, NH. George was the oldest of 4 siblings: he had a sister Marion b.1870, and two brothers, Fred b.1872, and Frank b.1874. He married Isabel in 1865, and they were living in Gorham in 1916, and, as far as I can tell, George lived in Gorham, NH his entire life. Both he and his father worked in a saw mill.]

On Monday, April 17 Eleanor writes:

All up to have breakfast together. Mrs. Watson helped me cut out shirt waist. I made peppermints and chocolate for Harold’s [Edith Boothman’s son b.1905] birthday. Auto called for Mr. and Mrs. Watson for noon train. Tired and to bed before dishes were washed. Bed early.

On Friday, April 21 Eleanor writes:

Good Friday - Lovely sunny day. Made salad-dressing, and sprinkled clothes but didn’t feel like ironing them. Dusted and cleaned all around. Went to bed in afternoon to read.[Ellie had previously started reading the book “Michael O’Halloran”] Arthur read from Ladies Home Journal in eve to me.

Note: My grandmother subscribed to the LHJ for many years. I show in the figure below a cover of the April 1916 Edition, which included these articles:

Dominie Dean • Ellis Parker Butler & James B. Dare

The Doctor of Afternoon Arm • Norman Duncan

When Mrs. Warburton Met Mrs. Connors • Inez Haynes Irwin

The Hole in the Mahogany Panel [Sir Henry Marquis] • Melville Davisson Post

The Amazing Event That Caused Miss Qegg to Disappear for Good • Anne Warner

On Sunday, May 7 Eleanor writes:

Up before 8:00, but Dr. [Dr. Bassford was Eleanor’s close friend Helene’s father] up earlier and out for walk. Breakfast at 8:30. Arthur washed dishes and Dr. wiped, I put up our lunch (3 eggs and two sandwiches) Mother sent up box of cake and snap dragons from Xautho [Club in Portland, Me]. Started for Gorham nearly 12:00 and Earl [Will was William M. Watson the son of Abel and Cordelia Watson from Randolph, NH. William married Lizzie S. (Wheeler - from Shelburne, NH) in 1896, and they had one son named Earle, behind the wheel] carried us to Gilead. Beautiful day and trip. Found some May flowers and ate lunch. On to Shelburne (nearly caught in shower) Found beautiful flowers back of Wheeler’s. Stopped there a while and nice ride home. In Berlin at 6:30 and picked over flowers. Lunch and to bed at 10:00.

Dr. Bassford took this picture of their trip to Gilead, Me.

Ellie and her father Walter Foss are shown in the back seat of the car.

On Monday, May 8 Eleanor writes:

Up at 5:00 and hustled off on 6:45 train for Randolph. Men did up dishes. I put up lunch and we started on [Randolph] Hill met John [Boothman] and down to Mossy Glen. Up to Jackson’s and thru house. About 2:00 started down. Went to Appalachia [Station] to see them off on 3:40 train. Started to rain. Very tired and to bed at 8:00.

A spring excursion to "The Mossy Glen"

Appalachia Station, a flag station (existed from 1896 to 1941 [2]) was 825 feet from the Ravine House. (Appalachia station is the small structure seen in left foreground of photo)

Photo of Ravine House with Appalachia Station circa late 1800s

On Tuesday, May 9 Eleanor writes:

[Staying at Coldbrook Lodge]

Up about 9:00. Ironed and helped some. Made checkermints for Harold. Edith [Boothman] and Mrs. Reed and Hunt up to Jackson’s [Highacres] to work. Arthur washed supper dishes and I wiped. Arthur read story out loud.

On Wednesday, May 10 Eleanor writes:

Cold- Up about 7:00. Helped do up work and wrote to Ma. Down to Crosses at Sewing Circle. Saw their bungalow. [According to RON there was a lot of building activity in Randolph going on in 1913 and 1914. And Dr. Ernest Samuel Cross, of Baltimore had a Colonial house built of his design. Presumably this might have been the bungalow Eleanor mentions] Tacked 4 quilts. Mrs. Pease there. Arthur and I home on 6:00 train. Found kitchen ceiling being painted. We went to movies in eve.

In 1912, “Mrs. Theodore C. Pease, of Andover, Mass placed her cottage a short distance from where the little red schoolhouse used to stand.” [1]

Below is a photo Eleanor took of the Pease Cottage in 1912 - 1913.

The Sewing Circle, which I believe may have been part of “The Home Dem” (which stood for the Home Demonstration agent, as it was called in Randolph). [2] This affiliation stemmed from a federal government program which established the Co-operative Extension in order to bring people living in rural communities the benefits of current developments in the field of agriculture, home economics, and other related subjects. For a brief history of this program today as well as in the 19th and 20th centuries, click here.

In the publication “Randolph, NH 150 Years,” it mentions that during the winter, a group of women would meet at one another’s houses to work on quilts (as a part of the Home Dem). “Nothing is known about the quality of their output, but one of their designs is well remembered, and at least one example is extant. This was the Friendship quilt and consisted of squares made up of nine smaller squares; the central square was white and was signed in ink by the maker.”

My grandmother made this Friendship quilt during this period, but did not sign her name in the middle.

Full view of Friendship Quilt:

Close-up of Friendship Quilt:

My grandmother made several of these crazy quilts during circa 1900 Crazy quilts differ from "regular" quilts in that the careful geometric design of a quilt block is much less important in crazy quilts. The quilters are able to employ much smaller and more irregularly-shaped pieces of fabric. In comparison to standard quilts, crazy quilts are far more likely to use exotic pieces of fabric, such as velvet, satin, tulle, or silk, and embellishments such as buttons, lace, ribbons, beads, or embroidery.

Full view of Crazy Quilt:

Close-up of Crazy Quilt:

On Saturday, May 13 Eleanor writes:

Ironed some and packed for Randolph. Went over on 3:15 train. Found Harold sick with a cold. Quite cool weather.

On Sunday, May 14 Eleanor writes:

Mr. Watson 66 [yrs] to-day. We all went to S.S. but him. Had peach ice-cream. Marion [Boothman] back from Mt. View in Rod’s car. They came in. Made candy for Harold [Boothman]. Bed with a cold.

Seen in the figure below are Anna and Laban Watson at Coldbrook Lodge - Laban would have been 67 when this photo was taken in 1917.

The Mountain View photo below was taken by Eleanor around 1912 - 1913.

Some background details on The Mountain View House and the Kelsey family:

Benjamin Kelsey built a two-story house on Randolph Hill in the 1860s which was called Kelsey Cottage. It accommodated up to twelve guests. [2]

In the 1860 Census, Benjamin Kelsey is living in Randolph with his wife Hannah and their six children. Benjamin’s son William took over the care of the property sometime during this period. When their daughter Sarah married John Boothman, they enlarged the cottage to accommodate up to 30 guests taking on the new name of The Mountain View House. John and Sarah along with their three daughters ran the house successfully until 1950. [2]

Another son, Joseph L. Kelsey (b. in 1845), was married to Elnora Watson (one of seven children of John and Eliza Watson). In 1880, Joseph was living in Randolph working as a farmer with Elnora and their son Fred.

On Monday, May 15 Eleanor writes:

Cold and dull. Edith washed and I helped. Mrs. Sargent down after dinner. I darned some while others made quilts. Made candy in eve. Arthur and I did dishes.

On Tuesday, May 16 Eleanor writes:

Cold and rainy but clear at night. Mrs. Cotton and Bodwell down to tack quilt. Arthur, Edith and mother [Anna] over to Wilson’s funeral and did up dishes and baked bread, made 2 loaves of nut bread. Ladies back home.

On Thursday, May 18 Eleanor writes:

Rain but from west. Made beds and cleaned up our room. After dinner ironed. Went up to Dean’s and came home with Arthur. After supper John, Edith, Arthur and I up to see Cutter’s new cottage.[This reference has to be to a cottage that Louis F. Cutter had built in 1916 called “The Maples” ] [1]

Seen in the photo below is Dean’s cottage - photo taken in 1912 –1913

The Dean cottage was a great roomy house among the large trees of many varieties. In 1910, Sarah Dean, of New York, purchased a large tract of the forested slope west of the Ravine House and built this lovely summer home. [1]

On Friday, May 19 Eleanor writes:

Dull and cold. Edith to Gorham on 9:30. I made nut bread and Mrs. Watson and I did up work. Edith home on 3:00. Rode down to Crosses with Arthur. Marion brought her friend, Ester, from Whitefield. Read aloud to Arthur in eve.

On Saturday, May 20 Eleanor writes:

Fair- Helped do up work and after dinner up to Mabel Lowe’s mothers to Sewing Circle (lots out). Mended and read in eve. Arthur fixed kitchen stove. Murray S. over with Harold.

On Sunday, May 21 Eleanor writes:

Nice warm sunny day. We all walked to S.S. Heard that Doris S. was taken to hospital with appendicitis. Uncle Will’s family up to dinner. Marian and Sarah up to Mt. View. Read to Arthur not feeling real good.

On Tuesday, May 23 Eleanor writes:

Rainy- Mrs. Reed, Hunt and Coulter down here to clean house in rooms upstairs. I made some cookies and did other things. Edith carried them back at 5:00.

On Saturday, May 27 Eleanor writes:

Nice day. Hustled around to get work done up in A.M. Up to Penny’s to sew and had swell lunch. Marion [Boothman] home on 6:00 train.

On Sunday, May 28 Eleanor writes:

Rain when we went to S.S., but not after that. Took off my union suit. Made checkermints for Harold. Nelson Smith and friend up in car and on to Mt. We took walk up to Dean’s and Maple Cottage [Cutter’s ]. Picked flowers.

On Tuesday, May 30 Eleanor writes:

Memorial Day and so rainy. Mrs. Coulter and Lowe down to clean front room. Had Harold’s [Boothman] trout for breakfast. Mr. Smith and Youkers off to Massachsettes. Took Harold up to Jackson’s. Helped do up work in A.M. and cleaned up my room. To bed early.

My grandmother’s caption for the 1913 photo below is “Harold’s Big Fish” - perhaps another trout.

On Wednesday, May 31 Eleanor writes:

Edith up to Ingham’s but back at 8:00. I did up dishes and washed etc. Mrs. Coulter and Lowe cleaned dining-room. Rode down with ladies to S. Peases [I believe that Eleanor is referring to Professor Arthur Stanley Pease of Illinois State University, who built a bungalow during the 1913-14 building seasons [1] ] and right back to dinner. Ma [Anna Watson] and I did dishes. I packed up and Arthur and I off on 6:00 train. Hustled to Appalachia. Things lovely and green.

The photo below was taken of the Ingham Cottage in 1912-1913 which belonged to Mary Ingham, of Malvern, PA and overlooked Mts. Adams and Jefferson. [1]

On Saturday, June 17 Eleanor writes:

Rained all night and windy. Cleaned front and back halls. Sewed and packed for Randolph. Stopped raining before 5:00. Arthur home to change clothes. Took 5:40 car. Did a few errands, too.

On Sunday, June 18 Eleanor writes:

Clearing. Marion and I did up dishes. Mother Watson went to Winona [a section in Meredith, N.H.] Friday. Went to S.S. Arthur worked in flower garden. Vanilla ice-cream with chocolate sauce. Arthur and I up to falls [Coldbrook] and took picture. Found lots of ladies slippers and sent them to Helene. Arthur’s father took us to Gorham. Waited one car during shower at Myra’s. Had terrific showers in Berlin before we arrived. Lunch and to bed.

Anna Watson went to visit her daughter Josephine (Clara Josephine was born in 1887 in Randolph) who lived on a farm in the Winona section of Meredith, New Hampshire. She and George Chandler, who was from Milan, N.H., were married in the Ravine House in Randolph on October 28, 1907 by the Reverend C.E. Clough of Jefferson, N.H. They had eight children: Milbre, Dorothy, Albert, Katherine, Flora, Laban, Fred and Clara. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 1967 on Winona Road in Meredith, N.H. where they had lived for 54 years of their married life. There were over 100 friends and relatives in attendance.

My grandmother took lots of pictures of the “Chandler band” as she affectionately called them.

The Chandlers (1912-1954)

Photo of Coldbrook Falls in 1916

Note: Click here for post on my trip back in time to Coldbrook Falls

On Thursday, June 29 Eleanor writes:

Nice A.M. made a fig pudding, graham loaf bread and chocolate cake. Also washed kitchen floor with mop for the first time. Had a nap while it showered then mended. Mrs. Cook down to say they couldn’t plan on Mt. trip with us as he has to work Monday. Arthur down to telephone Edith in eve. We planned on our short trip in eve.

To be continued in Part Two

On a personal note, Randolph holds a very special meaning for me. This stems from my father’s love of the mountains and the affection he had for the townspeople. He took me on many mountain trips always stopping off at The Mount Crescent House when we returned from our hikes to visit relatives and the people he had come to know while working summers there for Edith Boothman, the manager. I still have fond memories of such things as getting cookies from Flora Chandler who was always there baking something great. My dad (Morrill), who grew up in Berlin, N.H., spent his free time hiking and skiing. Shortly after entering Boston University, he joined up with the 10th Mountain Division in WWII and fought in the Italian Campaign in the Apennines. And, just as his mother (my grandmother) saved newspaper clippings, photos, and mementoes of her life, my father carried on that tradition when he was in the 10th Mt. Division, but that story will have to wait for another time. Thanks Dad.

Morrill at 8 in his backyard - 169 Church Street, Berlin, N.H.

While I have made certain assumptions and correlations regarding the cottages and people mentioned in this post, I have made them using the only sources available to me: Randolph Old and New and Randolph, N.H. 150 Years, ancestry.com records, and my grandmother’s newspaper clippings. There might be an occasional inconsistency due to, for example, erroneous census data or because, for convenience, I put all of the cottages in a slideshow called Randolph, NH 1911-1913, in my March 15, 2009 post (I now know that one of these photos, “High Acres,” was actually taken in 1916-17.)

If anyone could provide me with any details to correct any misinformation that may exist in this posting, please contact me by leaving a comment at the end of the post or by sending me an email at mgulesian@yahoo.com

[1] Randolph Old and New, Its Ways and Its By-ways, George N. Cross, Town of Randolph, New Hampshire, 1924

[2] Randolph, N.H. 150 Years, Sesquicentenial Committtee, Town of Randolph, New Hampshire, 1974

[3] For more on the Ravine House, see the video in my July 12th post