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  • Notable Kin - Surprising Connections, #s 3-4: Two “Upstate” Cousins of Jennie Jerome - Mrs. Frederick Douglass and Mrs. Rudyard Kipling

    Gary Boyd Roberts

    Published Date : February - March 1992

    Among the fourth and fifth cousins of Jennie Jerome - born in Brooklyn, N.Y. 9 January 1854, wife of Lord Randolph Henry Spencer-Churchill and mother of British prime minister Sir Winston Leonard Spencer- Churchill - were two “upstate” wives of remarkable men. Helen Pitts (1837-1903), a fourth cousin of Jennie through the Curtiss family of Stratford and Wallingford, Connecticut, married in Washington, D.C. 24 January 1884, at age 46 and as his second wife, Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist leader, orator, journalist and former slave, later minister to Haiti, then probably aged 66. Caroline Starr Balestier (1862-1939), a fifth cousin of Jennie through the Stowes of Middletown, Connecticut, married in London 18 January 1892 (Joseph) Rudyard Kipling, the British novelist, poet, short-story writer and celebrator of Anglo-India and the British Empire. Mrs. Kipling was a native of Rochester, New York; Mrs. Douglass of Honeoye, a part of Richmond, New York, about 40 miles south of Rochester. A major endpoint of the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves, the home of Susan B. Anthony (see NEXUS 7[1990]:157, 159, 8:153), George Eastman and Eastman Kodak, nineteenth century Rochester was a center of both reform and technology. It also had a Jerome/Churchill connection - Leonard Walter Jerome (1817-1891), Jennie’s father, practiced law and published a newspaper there in the 1840s. For the Jerome ancestry see The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 73 (1942):159-66 and NEXUS 5(1988):94-98.

    The marriage of Frederick Douglass and Helen Pitts links a major abolitionist figure, a classic African-American hero, and the prophetic tradition of black oratory to much of the founding folklore of Yankee New England and America generally. For Helen Pitts was a ninth- or tenth-generation descendant of six Mayflower passengers John Alden; Priscilla, William and Alice Mullins; Thomas Rogers; and Richard Warren. Presidential kin included Alden descendants John and John Quincy Adams and Warren descendants U.S. Grant and F. D. Roosevelt, plus Rutherford B. Hayes, a fourth cousin once removed of Mrs. Douglass through the Austin family of Charlestown, Massachusetts and Suffield, Connecticut. Other Alden descendants treated in earlier “Notable Kin” columns include Childerses of Ireland and Masaryks of Czechoslovakia (Mrs. Tomas Garrigue Masaryk was a fifth cousin once removed); William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the Peabody sisters and Henry and Brooks Adams among intellectuals prominent in the “flowering of New England”; Hollywood giants Orson Welles and (probably) Marilyn Monroe; rancher Abel Head “Shanghai” Pierce; plus, among major revolutionary and patriot families, the Trumbulls of Connecticut the brothers Jonathan, Jr., Joseph and John (the painter) and their sister Mary, wife of “signer” William Williams. Further Warren descendants also covered in other columns include Tupper and Mrs. Diefenbaker among Canadian prime ministers or their wives; the Childerses; Longfellow, Henry David Thoreau and George Bancroft among New England “flowers”; “Shanghai” Pierce (a fifth and sixth cousin of Mrs. Douglass), Mrs. Richard King and the Klebergs among Texas ranchers; Orson Welles and Mrs. Elia Kazan; Mrs. Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump Magri; and Laura Ingalls Wilder. A contemporary distant cousin of Mrs. Douglass is Vice President James Danforth Quayle, whose Alden (and Standish) descent I outlined in The Mayflower Descendant 41(1991 ):5-6.

    Mrs. Caroline Starr Balestier Kipling was not only a fifth cousin of Jennie Jerome, the great-great-granddaughter of a first cousin of Treasury secretary and Connecticut governor Oliver Wolcott, Jr., and great-great-great-granddaughter of a brother of Connecticut “signer” and governor Oliver Wolcott. Three of Mrs. Kipling’s grandparents - Joseph Nerée Balestier, Erasmus Peshine Smith (Rochester lawyer and from 1871 to 1876 legal adviser to the Mikado of Japan) and Anna Beatty were natives respectively of Martinique, New York City, and Hagerstown, Maryland. Through her paternal grandmother, Caroline Starr Wolcott, Mrs. Kipling was also of royal descent through Connecticut immigrants Oliver Mainwaring (of New London, a descendant of Edward I) and Obadiah Bruen (of Milford, a descendant of Henry II). Presidential cousins of the two Carolines, via Hydes, Gilmans, Clapps or Newberrys, include Fillmore, Lincoln, Hayes, Garfield, Cleveland, FDR,. Ford and Bush. Other ancestors of interest include Josiah Winslow, brother and brother-in-law respectively of Mayflower passengers Edward Winslow, governor of the Plymouth Colony, and Mrs. Mary Chilton Winslow; and John Dwight of Dedham, Massachusetts, some of whose notable progeny is listed or treated in NEXUS 5(1988):19-22, 95-98, 6:156-59, 7:209-11.

    Mrs. Kipling’s brother, Charles Wolcott Balestier (1861-1891), who died before his sister’s marriage, [31] was a noted author, publisher, and collaborator with Kipling on The Naulahka. Other kinsmen of interest, via the Wolcotts, include third cousin Mrs. Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America (and a native of Savannah, Georgia); fourth cousin (Richard) Buckminster Fuller (Jr.), the engineer, architect and world systems designer (a native of Milton, Massachusetts); Marian Griswold Nevins, a fourth cousin once removed and wife of composer Edward Alexander MacDowell; fifth cousins Alfred Whitney Griswold, president of Yale, and the wives of Alexander Graham Bell (Mabel Gardiner Hubbard), Harvard president Abbott Lawrence Lowell (Anna Parker Lowell), novelist John Phillips Marquand II (Adelaide Ferry Hooker, a second wife) and philanthropist John Davison Rockefeller III (Blanchette Ferry Hooker, a sister of Mrs. Marquand); and, among fifth cousins once removed West Virginia senator (formerly governor) John Davison Rockefeller IV and Evelyn Wadsworth and Lilian Louisa Swann, first wives of (respectively) Missouri senator William Stuart Symington Jr. and architect Eero Saarinen. Also notable is Mrs. Kipling’s kinship, via Mainwarings, to feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton (see NEXUS 7:156-57, 159).

    Outlined below, then, are the Mayflower descents, plus the Curtiss and Austin lines, of Mrs. Douglass, and, in the usual format for this column, Mrs. Kipling’s descent from each of her forebears mentioned above. Full dates and places are given for generations 6-9 of Mrs. Douglass’s Rogers, Alden and Warren lines; such information for the first five generations, readily available in the three-, four- or five-generation books or pamphlets published by the Mayflower Society and cited below, is omitted. Among ancestors of Mrs. Kipling (arranged by generation, parents before grandparents, etc., with semi-colons separating generations and commas separating couples of the same generation from the figure), “RD” indicates an ancestor of royal descent, “MP” a Mayflower passenger, and “TP” an ancestor of two or more presidents. Following the coverage for Mrs. Kipling are brief outlines, in similar format, of the descents of Mrs. Low and Buckminster Fuller from Alexander Wolcott, Jr. and Sr. respectively. Frederick Douglass and Helen Pitts, I might add, were married for eleven years, and Rudyard Kipling and Caroline Balestier for forty-four (Kipling died, in fact, on his 44th anniversary); both Mrs. Douglass and Mrs. Kipling survived their husbands but did not remarry.

    1. Thomas Rogers of the Mayflower = Elsgen ___
    2. John Rogers of Duxbury, Mass. = Anna Churchman
    3. John Rogers, Jr. of Barrington, R.I. = (1) Elizabeth Pabodie, dau. of William Pabodie of Little Compton, R.I. & Elizabeth Alden, dau. of John Alden & Priscilla Mullins of the Mayflower and granddau. of William and Alice (___) Mullins of the Mayflower
    4. Elizabeth Rogers = Sylvester Richmond of Little Compton, RI. and Dartmouth, Mass.
    5. Judge WilliamRichmond of Little Compton = Anna Gray, dau. of Thomas Gray of Little Compton & Anna Little, dau. of Ephraim Little of Scituate, Mass. (& Mary Sturtevant), son of Thomas Little of Marshfield, Mass. & Anna Warren, dau. of Richard Warren of the Mayflower & Elizabeth ___
    6. Abigail Richmond, b. Little Compton 28 Feb. 1744, d. Pittstown, N.Y. 26 July 1807, = (int.) Dighton, Mass. 29 Dec. 1764 Capt. Peter Pitts, Jr., b. Dighton 15 Sept. 1737, d. Pittstown 15 Dec. 1812, revolutionary soldier and a founder of Pittstown, later Honeoye or Richmond, N.Y., son of Peter & Sarah (___) Pitts
    8. GideonPitts, b. Dighton 21 April 1766, d. Richmond, N.Y. 29 July 1828, blacksmith and mill operator in Richmond, m. there ca. 1800-2 Lorinda Hulbert, b. Suffield, Conn. 21 July 1780, d. Richmond 13 June 1844. dau. of John and Phebe (Harmon) Hulbert (various spellings).
    7. Gideon Pitts, Jr., b. Richmond ca. 1807, d. there 18 June 1888, ae. 81, m. there (Honeoye) 5 Dec. 1836 Jane Wells, b. Manchester, Vt. 4 March 1814, d. Anacostia, D.C. 22 March 1892. Gideon was a farmer, abolitionist, and colonel in the state militia. Jane was a dau. of Pascal Paoli Wells & Anna Munson, dau. of Jared Munson (& Annorah Hale), son of Ephraim Munson & Comfort Curtiss, dau. of Churchill ancestors Nathaniel Curtiss & Sarah Howe. Annorah Hale was a dau. of Joseph Hale & Mercy Gillett, dau. of Benjamin Gillett & Elizabeth Austin, dau. of Hayes ancestors Anthony Austin & Esther Huggins.
    9. Helen Pitts, b. Richmond (Honeoye) 14 Oct. 1837, a Mount Holyoke graduate of 1859, d. Anacostia, D.C. 1 Dec. 1903 = Washington, D.C. 24 Jan. 1884 FrederickDouglass, the abolitionist leader and U.S. minister to Haiti, b. Tuckahoe near Easton, Talbot Co., Md. as Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, a slave to Capt. Aaron Anthony (chief agent of the estate of Col. Edward Lloyd) ca. Feb. 1817, d. Anacostia, D.C. 20 Feb. 1895, son of an unknown white father and Harriet Bailey.

    SOURCES: R. M. Sherman, ed., Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, vol. 2 (1978), pp. 155, 158-60, 164-65, 191, 264-65 (generations 1-5); H. K. Shaw and A. C. Williams, Families of the Pilgrims, John Alden, William Mullins (1986), pp. 1-5; R. S. Wakefield, Janice Beebe and others, Richard Warren of the Mayflower and his Descendants for Four Generations, 4th ed. (1991, an MFIP pamphlet), Pp. 4-6, 21,81-82; F. D. McTeer and J. B. Berndt, Some Descendants of Peter Pitts of Taunton, Mass. (1979), pp. 24-25, 41-45; Suffield, Conn. VRs (Lorinda Hulbert); E. E Davenport, David Benton and Nancy Pitts, Their Ancestors and Descendants (1921), pp. 11-24, 71-84; M.A. Munson, The Munson Record, 1635-1887, vol.2(1895), pp. 896-98, 901-2, 911-13; DAB (5[1930]:406-7) and National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, henceforth NCAB (2118991:309-10), articles on Frederick Douglass; Boston Transcript of 2 Dec. 1903, P. 2, col. 5. For Churchill and Hayes connections see PH. Curtiss, A Genealogy of the Curtiss Family (1903), pp. 14-15 and H. D. Curtiss, A Genealogy of the Curtis-Curtiss Family of Stratford, Conn.: A Supplement to the 1993 Edition (1953), p.8 (Curtiss to Munson and Churchill); and D. L Jacobus and E. F. Waterman, Hale, House and Related Families (1952, repr. 1978), pp. 728-79, Register 101(1947):286 (Gillett, repr. in Genealogies of Conn. Families from NEHGR [1983], 2:63), [32] E. A. Moore and W. A. Day, The Descendants of Richard Austin of Charlestown, Mass., 1638(1969?), pp. 10-11 and G.B. Roberts, Ancestors of American Presidents, preliminary ed., rev. (1989, henceforth AAP), pp. 31-33 (Austin to Munson and Hayes).

    (JOSEPH) RUDYARD KIPLING (1865-1936) (wife, Caroline Starr Balesfier; Henry Wolcott Balestier & Anna Smith; Joseph Nerée Balestier & Caroline Starr Wolcott; Henry Wolcott & Mary Almira Starr; Alexander Wolcott, Jr. & Frances Burbank, Jehosaphat Starr, Jr. & Mary Warne; Alexander Wolcott & Mary Richards, Abraham Burbank, Jr. & Bethia Cushing, Jehosaphat Starr & Sarah Stowe; Roger Wolcott, gov. of Conn., & Sarah Drake, George Richards & Hester Hough, Abraham Burbank & Mehitable Dwight, John Cushing 11111 & Mary Cotton, Joseph Starr & Abigail Baldwin, Nathaniel Stowe & Sarah Sumner; Job Drake, Jr. & Elizabeth Clark, John Richards, Jr. & Love Mainwaring, John Hough & Sarah Post, Nathaniel Dwight & Mehitable Partridge, John Cushing, Jr. & Deborah Loring, Josiah Cotton & Hannah Sturtevant, Comfort Starr & Marah Weld, Samuel Baldwin & Abigail Baldwin; Daniel Clark & Mary Newberry, Oliver Mainwaring [RD] & Hannah Raymond, John Post [TP] & Hester Hyde [TP], Timothy Dwight & Anna Flint, Thomas Loring, Jr. & Hannah Jacob, John Sturtevant & Hannah Winslow, Joseph Weld & Barbara Clapp, John Baldwin & Mary Bruen [parents of Abigail]; Thomas Newberry [TP] & Joan Dabinott, William Hyde [TP] & ___ [TP], John Dwight & Hannah ___, Nicholas Jacob & Mary Gilman, Josiah Winslow [bro. of Edward Winslow (MP), gov. of Plymouth Colony] & Margaret Bourne, Nicholas Clapp & Elizabeth ___, Obadiah Bruen [RD] & Sarah ___; Edward Gilman [TP] & ___ [TP], Richard Clapp [TP] & Christian ___).

    Mrs. JULIETTE MAGILL KINZIE GORDON LOW, 1860-1927; William Washington Gordon, Jr. & Eleanor Lytle Kinzie; John Harris Kinzie & Juliette Magill; Arthur W. Magill & Frances Wolcott; Alexander Wolcott, Jr. & Frances Burbank, above.

    (RICHARD) BUCKMINSTER FULLER, (Jr.), 1895-1983; Richard Buckminster Fuller & Caroline Wolcott Andrews; Arthur Buckminster Fuller (brother of [Sarah] Margaret Fuller, Marchesa d’Ossoli) & Emma Lucilla Reeves, Martin Andrews & Caroline Matilda Wolcott; Christopher Columbus Wolcott & Susan Blinn; Christopher Wolcott & Lucy Parsons; Alexander Wolcott & Mary Richards, above.

    SOURCES for Mrs. Kipling (plus Mrs. Low and Fuller): E. R. Foreman, The Rochester Historical Society Publication Fund Series, vol. 6 (1927), pp. 231-35, R. C. Griffen and M. R. Alegre, Wolcott Genealogy (1986, henceforth Wolcott), PP. 127, 153, 207, 214, 283-84, DNB (Kipling), DAB (C. W. Balestier), Notable American Women (Mrs. J. M. K. G. Low) and NEXUS 7(1990):155, 158 and Fuller sources cited therein (R. B. Fuller, Jr.); NEXUS 3(1986): 235-38, F. B. Gay, The Descendants of John Drake (1933), pp. 25-26, H. R Stiles, The History and Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, Conn., vol. 2 (1892, repr. 1976), p. 153 (Clark) and J. G. Bartlett, Newberry Genealogy (1914), Pp. 35-46; R. H. Walworth, Hyde Genealogy (1864, henceforth Hyde), pp. 1-5, 12-13,65-66,225-26, 1121; NYGBR 51(1920): 307-8, 310-11 (Richards, Mainwaring) and Register 141 (1987):104-5 and sources cited therein (for the royal descent of Oliver Mainwaring); G. B. Sedgley, Genealogy of the Burbank Family (1928), Pp. 23-24, 46-47 and B. W. Dwight, The History of the Descendants of Join Dwight of Dedham, Mass. (1874), Pp. 91-99, 102-6, 109-10, 428-29; J. S. Cushing, The Genealogy of the Cushing Family (1905, repr. 1979), pp. 28-29, 48-49, 96, C. H. Pope and K. P. Loring, Loring Genealogy (1917), pp. 9-13, George Lincoln, History of...Hingham, Mass., vol. 2 (1893, repr. 1982), pp. 371-72 (Jacob) and W. G. Davis, The Ancestry of Abel Lunt (1963), pp. 157-58 (Gilman); R. H. Sturtevant, Descendants of Samuel Sturtevant (1986), #s 2-6, 3-16, 4-56 and E. F. Waterman and D. L. Jacobus, The Waterman Family, vol. 1(1939), p. 619 (Winslow); B. P. Starr, A History of the Starr Family (1879), pp. 117-18, 135, 225-27, 231-32, C.F. Robinson, Weld Collections (1938), pp. 35-52 and M. L. Holman, Ancestry of Colonel John Harrington Stevens and His Wife Frances Helen Miller, vol. 1(1948, henceforth SMD, pp. 276-80 (Clapp); C.C. Baldwin, The Baldwin Genealogy from 1500 to 1881 (1881), pp. 411-12, N. G. Parke II and D. L. Jacobus, The Ancestry of Lorenzo Ackley and His Wife Emma Arabella Bosworth (1960), pp. 247-50 (Baldwin) and TAG 26 (1950):12-25 (royal descent and family of Obadiah Bruen); R. F. Cooke, “John Stow/Stowe of Massachusetts and His Descendants of Middletown, Conn.” (1986), pp.8-9, 19, 19b, 43a (including Stowe to Churchill). For the descent of FDR from Nicholas Clapp (Jr., husband of Sarah Clapp, a cousin), brother of Barbara (Clapp) (Weld) Stoddard, see A. P. Johnson, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Colonial Ancestors (1933), pp. 168, 171, 14; for the lines from Jane (Clapp) (Weeks) Humphrey, a first cousin of the half blood of Nicholas (Jr.) and Barbara, to Presidents Garfield and Bush see SM1, pp. 271 -75 (Weeks), 266-67 (Carpenter) and AAP, p. 218. This kinship, via Clapps, of Garfield and Bush to FDR will be included in future editions of AAP; it was first brought to my attention in March 1990 by David W. Piepho of Indianapolis.

    SOURCES for Mrs. Kipling’s Wolcott cousins, general:Wolcott, pp. 127-28, 153-60, 200, 215-17, Hyde, pp. 182-83, 748-49, 884-95, 1012, E. E and E. M. C. Salisbury, Family Histories and Genealogies, 4 vols. (1892), Griswold chart, Part III asp. and NCAB, vols. 45(1962):446 (J. W. Wadsworth, Jr.), 53(1971):539-40 (A. W. Griswold) (for Mrs. Bell, Mrs. MacDowell, Griswold and Mrs. Symington esp.); D. R. Lowell, The historic Genealogy of the Lowells of America (1899), pp. 222, 284 (Mrs. Lowell); Edward Hooker, The Descendants of Rev. Thomas Hooker (1909), pp. 171, 284, 401 and DAB, Suppl. 2 (1958), pp. 313-14 (E. H. Hooker, for his daus. Mrs. Marquand and Mrs. Rockefeller); George Gibbs, The Gibbs Family of Rhode Island (1933), pp. 69-74,77, 168-69, 171 and H. M. Sedgwick, A Sedgwick Genealogy (1961), pp. 217-21 (Mrs. Saarinen). In my 1986 treatment in this column of “signet” Oliver Wolcott, the immigrant John Drake of Windsor, Cons., great-grandfather of Mrs. Sarah Drake Wolcott, was identified as being of royal descent. Recently the Windsor settler has been shown (by Douglas Richardson of Tucson, Ariz.) not to be the John Drake of Wiscombe, Devon whose cousin, Francis Drake of Esher, in 1633 willed John “twenty pounds to be sent unto him in New England.” A full monograph is now in preparation. Lastly, for presidential descents from ancestors cited above of Mrs. Douglass or Mrs. Kipling, see AAP.

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