Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Wights of Gilead, Maine

The most rewarding part of having this blog has been hearing from people whose lives have been touched by our common history. This includes the gift of finding unknown relatives, who have advanced my knowledge and appreciation of my family history both past and present, and for this I am most grateful.

I recently received an audio CD from the son, Clarence, of Dorothy Norton Chandler. Dorothy was the daughter of Clara Josephine Watson Chandler, who appears in my earlier post
The Comings and Goings of Life in Randolph, NH in 1916 – Part 1. In 2000, when Dorothy was 91 years old, she recorded her family history. It was this recording that pointed me to the family background of my great, great, grandmother, Cordelia (née Wight) Burbank (later Watson). What follows is an updated profile for Cordelia Eliza Wight and her family. The link above navigates to a photo of Cordelia standing beside her spinning wheel in the Ravine House.

Cordelia was born on Sep 12, 1826 in Gilead, ME and died on Jun 12, 1912 in Randolph, NH. Her father, Capt. William Wight, was born on May 26, 1799 in Gilead, ME. His occupation was shown to be farmer in the Gilead, ME Censuses for 1850 and 1870. Cordelia’s mother Phebe (née Mason) Wight, was born on Feb 7, 1802 in Gilead, ME. William and Phebe were married on March 13, 1824 in Gilead. They had five children all born in Gilead:

Wight, William Quincy b. Apr 3, 1825 d. Nov 20, 1864

Wight, Cordelia Eliza b. Sep 12, 1826 d. Jun 12, 1912

Wight, Maria Matilda b. Mar 20, 1828 d. Aug 11, 1865

Wight, Lorenzo b. Jan 18, 1830 d. Aug 19, 1862

Wight, Phebe b. Feb 18, 1834 - no further data

When Cordelia was only 10 years old, her mother Phebe died (1836). In 1838, William remarried Hannah (née Stearns) Wight. William and Hannah had two children both born in Gilead:

Wight, Henry b. Apr 30, 1840 d. May 15, 1905

Wight, Hannah Priscilla b. May 5, 1843 d. c. Jun 10, 1872

Henry was a farmer who made Gilead his home for 65 years. The 1880 Census shows that he was living with his wife Mary Willis Stevens and their four children: Celia, Helen, James and Harry.

Hannah married Albert B. Richardson of Bethel, ME where they lived with their three children: Alice, William and Burritt.

Cordelia’s two brothers, William and Lorenzo, both fought and died in the Civil War. Lorenzo enlisted at age 31 (residing in Londonderry, NH at the time) on Aug 20, 1861with the rank of private in Company K, New Hampshire’s 4th Infantry Regiment. He died of disease on Aug 19, 1862 in Saint Augustine, Florida.

The 4th Regiment was a New Hampshire volunteer infantry which was in service for three years, during which period, nine officers were mortally wounded or died from disease and 275 enlisted men were mortally wounded or died from disease.

For an interesting account, with photos, of the History of St. Augustine in the Civil War in which Lorenzo’s name appears with nine other members of New Hampshire’s 4th Regiment who died in St. Augustine, FL, click

You can also click here for the Nutfield Genealogy blog, which shows a plaque affixed to Londonderry NH’s Civil War Monument, where you will see Lorenzo’s name.

William Q. enlisted one month later, on Sep 21, 1861, at age 36, with the rank of Corporal, in Company G, Massachusetts 27th Infantry Regiment. He was living in Chicopee, MA at the time with his wife Mary Prescott and their four children. He was promoted to full Sergeant on Feb 4, 1863. On May 16, 1864, he was taken prisoner at the battle at Drewry’s Bluff, VA and spent time at the Andersonville Prison Camp before being moved to Camp Lawton in Millen, Georgia, where he died from disease on Nov 20, 1864.

William served for three years in the 27th Regiment, during which period twelve officers were mortally wounded or died from disease and 254 enlisted men were mortally wounded or died from disease.

here for information on the battle of Drewry’s Bluff and here for a video of Drewry’s Bluff today at the Richmond National Battlefield Park in Virginia.

Cordelia’s sister Maria married Orville Peabody of Gilead, ME in Gilead on Mar 30, 1848. Shortly after their marriage, the newlyweds moved to Londonderry, NH, where Orville went to work as a shoemaker. In the 1850 Londonderry Census, Cordelia is listed as residing with them in their household. Then, as shown in the 1860 Londonderry Census, Maria and Orville had four children: Ambrose, Ida, William and James.

On Dec 2, 1852, Cordelia and Lemuel B. Burbank were married in Gilead, ME. Lemuel B. Burbank, or Bliss as he was called, was born on Apr 11, 1824 in Shelburne, NH. In the June 1860 Census, Bliss was listed as a farmer living in Shelburne, NH with Cordelia and their two children, Anna and Charles:

Burbank, Anna A b. Sep 7, 1853 d. Oct 25, 1928

Burbank, Charles B b. 1859 d. May 5, 1896

Anna married my great grandfather Laban Watson, proprietor of the Ravine House located in Randolph, NH. For more information and photos
of Anna click

Anna Burbank Watson
(Durand Road Cemetery, Randolph, NH)

In the Gilead Maine Cemetery, I found the headstone of Cordelia’s husband Bliss, who died on Oct. 17, 1860 at age 36, along with another, that of their infant son, who was born in 1856 and died shortly afterwards:

Lemuel B. Burbank

Burbank, E. b. Nov 1856 d. Dec 2, 1856

Their son Charles was living in Randolph, NH in 1880 and, according to the 1880 Census, was listed as a teamster. He died from pneumonia at the age of 36 and is buried in Whitefield, NH.

Around 1862, Cordelia married Abel Watson from Randolph, NH, who was born in Waterford, ME. Click here for a photo and background details about Abel. They had 2 children born in Randolph, NH:

William McLellan Watson b. Apr 5, 1864 d. Jan 5, 1945

Hannah E. aka Lizzie H. and Elizabeth Watson b. Jan 1, 1868 d. Sep 11, 1918

William married Lizzie S. Wheeler of Shelburne, NH on April 5, 1895 in Berlin, NH. According to the 1900 Census, William was living as a farmer in Shelburne with his wife Lizzie and their one-year-old son Earle Watson Sr. Then, as shown in the 1910 Census, William and his family were living in Gorham, NH, where he was listed as owning his house free of a mortgage. Also in that 1910 Census, his occupation was listed as scaler for a lumber mill, the Berlin Mills Co., where he continued to be employed through 1930.

William Watson, Shelburne, NH

William and Earle, Sr. Watson - Gorham, NH, c. 1920

William and Lizzie Watson
(The Wheeler Cemetery, Shelburne, NH)

Notes of interest: A log scaler measures the cut trees to determine the scale (volume) and quality (grade) of the wood to be used for manufacturing. The Berlin Mills Co., changed its name to the Brown Co. in 1917. The death date on the stone for William is incorrect and the actual date of his death is Jan 5, 1945.

Hannah spent most of her life in Randolph with the exception of a short period of time when she resided in Hanover, ME, sometime between 1900 and 1916. She married Sidney Brown of Ellsworth, ME on June 20, 1885 in Randolph, NH. From that point on, she used the name Lizzie H., except when her name appeared in the 1900 Randolph Census as Elizabeth. In the 1900 Census, Sidney was listed as a farmer living in Randolph, with Lizzie and their five children: four sons, Eugene, Hollis, Jarold, Sherman and one daughter, Ethel - all born in Randolph, NH. Lizzie and Sidney were both buried in the Randolph, NH Cemetery.

Abel and Cordelia both died in Randolph, NH and were buried in the Randolph Cemetery in the Watson family plot.

The Cemetery photos that appear in this post were taken from the following locations:

The Wheeler Cemetery, Shelburne, NH

Durand Road Cemetery, Randolph, NH

T.G. Lary Cemetery, Gilead, ME

Note: In addition to the audio recording mentioned in the first paragraph above, the sources used for this profile include census data, death records, gravestones, the Civil War records and Profiles at and Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War.

The two photos of William M. Watson were provided courtesy of Earle Watson III.

The audio CD on the Chandler & Watson families was provided courtesy of Clarence (Pat) Norton.

And a special thanks go to two people in Londonderry, NH who helped me track down and confirm that I had the right Lorenzo Wight: Heather Rojo, who maintains the Nutfield Genealogy blog and Jennifer DelVillar at the Leac
h Library in Londonderry, NH, who provided me with the information that I needed in Ayling’s Revised Register of the Soldiers and Sailors of NH in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866.

Note: My next post will be a story provided by the grandson of Louis and Ellen Davenport, whose grandparents were managers at the Ravine House during the years 1912 to 1915. This next post will include a rare glimpse of some interior and exterior photos of the Ravine House during that period.


Hiker33 said...

As a White Mountain aficionado I find your blog fascinating. I have collected White Mountain material for decades and find Randolph, Gorham, Gilead, and Hastings history to be my special interests.

I have D.B. Wight's books on Gorham and the Wild River area and wonder about his connection to the Wight's mentioned here. Of course, this is a common name in this area. Denman Bartlett Wight was born in Gorham in 1908.

Looking forward to your next post.

Marcia Gulesian said...

Thank you for your comment. I also have a book by D.B. Wight. Denman Bartlett is connected to my Wight ancestors as follows: Ephraim Wight married Susannah Patch in 1797, and they had eleven children. William Wight (Cordelia's father) was their first born, in 1799. William's brother, Caleb, b.1809, married Fanny Burbank in 1839, and they had eleven children. Their child Thomas, b. 1855, married Alice Peabody in 1887. This couple had five children one of which was Denman B., b. 1908.


TCasteel said...

You're lucky that the top half of the broken tombstone is still there with it's original base. Sadly, many times the pieces get lost or separated.

Anonymous said...

I was thrilled to see all your hard work so well presented on your Wight roots. I descend from thrm as well and specifically from Ephraim and Susannah Patch Wight and their son Gardner.

Cindy Barris-Speke