Is this a Punishment? Or Payback?

About a hundred years ago, it was quite the thing to write and publish a family genealogy, beginning with the first Smith or Adams or Peabody to land here in the colonies.  In this case, it the first Tyler, Job Tyler, born around 1641.  Rather than doing great deeds, the first records about Job have to do with his legal problems in Andover with a Thomas Chandler.

By the time a judge ruled against him for the last time, he was penniless and no fine could be levied.  So this “apology” was posted instead.  To me, it looks like Job Tyler had the last word.

The Sad Story of Abraham Adams

I’ve discovered a few nice things about researching this house, as opposed to researching my own family history.  For one, all the information is in one town, or at least one county.

Another thing is that any ghosts in the closet aren’t my own ghosts.  It might be my closet, though.

Abraham Adams lived up the road in a house that has since been moved.  His great-grandson, Samuel, built the addition on to this house in 1837.  But in 1771, Abraham killed himself.  It’s strange and horrifying to read this account published in the paper, but I find it very sympathetic.

Source: Essex Antiquarian, January 1898 (via my new best friend, Google Books)

Slavery in Georgetown and Rowley, MA

Before 1783, slavery was legal in Massachusetts and yes, there were slaves here. It seems like this never gets talked about. All the historic homes highlight their roles in the Underground Railroad, but they don’t tend to mention who the servants were.  At a local museum, I was shown a shackle, said to have come “from the South”.  But on it was written “Mt. Vernon Street”.  That’s south — thirty miles south in Boston.

A book that opened my eyes to this fact was Mr. and Mrs. Prince, an amazingly reconstructed tale of slavery & freedom in Western Massachusetts and Vermont.  The exhibit called “Slavery and the Making of New York“, seen a few years ago at the New York Historical Society, was another eye opener.  Looks like you can see the whole thing online.

So here, for the record, are the births and deaths of “negroes” in the town of Rowley before 1849.  A few are noted as being “free”, so it’s fair to assume that the rest were not.  The source for this is Massachusetts Vital Records Project.




History of our House, Part I

I’m trying to figure out when exactly this house was built, and by whom. The real estate papers said 1803. Previous owners said 1800. I haven’t found anything definitive yet, but two mornings at the Salem Registry of Deeds did shed a little light on it.

The earliest deed I’ve found so far (1837) refers to it as “the store”. It was two rooms on the bottom floor, two rooms on the second floor, with an attic. Maybe being a store explains why it has a small central chimney? Only needed for heat and not for cooking? So maybe people didn’t live in here until later. An addition was made in 1837. One room down, one room up, tacked on to the south side of the house, both with fireplaces. The roof of the addition is slightly shorter and it looks as if the house is a telescope and the addition could slip into the main part of the house. For the addition, we have some real data. In the foundation is this marker IMG_2091

It reads: S. Adams N. Rowley CGT 1837

So the addition was probably paid for or done by a Samuel Adams (not THE Samuel Adams), born June 17, 1811, son of Benjamin Adams 3rd and Lois Perley, all of New Rowley (now Georgetown). The CGT is interesting. I think it’s someone’s initials and scanning the Rowley births before 1849, there is only one person listed as having those initials — Caleb Greenleaf Tyler. To me it looks like he was taking credit for carving the stone, but maybe he was the actual builder. Here’s what this site has to say about CGT –

Caleb Greenleaf Tyler, son of Jacob and Lavinia (Barker), born in Haverhill, Oct. 18, 1805.

Caleb is probably related to John Greenleaf Whittier, American abolitionist and poet, who was also from Haverhill. And Caleb’s son, Charles E. Tyler, bought this house fifty years after his father carved his initials in that stone. Here’s what we know about Charles E. Tyler.

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He purchased this home in 1887, for his retirement it seems.

(Update 11/15/09)

Here’s what Charles Tyler’s unit did in the Civil War:

50th Regiment Infantry (7th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia)

Organized at Boxford. Moved to New York November 19-20, 1862, thence sailed for New Orleans, La. (Cos. “A,” “E” and “K”), on Steamer “Jersey Blue,” December 11. Transferred to “Guerrilla” at Hilton Head, S.C., and arrived at New Orleans January 20, 1863. Company “I” sailed on Steamer “New Brunswick” December 1, arriving at Baton Rouge, La., December 16, and temporarily attached to 30th Massachusetts. Companies “B,” “C,” “D,” “F,” “G” and “H” sailed on Steamer “Niagara” December 13, but returned to Philadelphia, Pa., December 16. Again sailed from Philadelphia January 9, 1863, on Ship “Jenny Lind,” arriving at Fortress Monroe, Va., January 13, where Companies “B,” “D” and “H” were transferred to Ship “Monticello,” and arrived at New Orleans January 27, but were detained at Quarantine until April, Joining Regiment at Baton Rouge April 2. Companies “C,” “F” and “G” arrived at New Orleans February 9 and at Baton Rouge February 14. Attached to 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 19th Army Corps, Dept. of the Gulf, to July, 1863.

SERVICE.–Duty at Baton Rouge until March 14, 1863. Reconnoissance toward Port Hudson March 7-27. Expedition to Bayou Montecino April 19. At Baton Rouge until May 12, At White’s Bayou May 12-26 (Cos. “A,” “B,” “C” and “I”). Siege of Port Hudson May 26-July 9. Assaults on Port Hudson May 27 and June 14. Surrender of Port Hudson July 9. Garrison duty at Port Hudson until July 29. Moved to Boston, Mass., via Cairo, Ill., July 29-August 11. Mustered out August 24, 1863.

Regiment lost during service 2 Enlisted men killed and 1 Officer and 100 Enlisted men by disease. Total 103.