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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 15
    Whole #214
    April 13, 2005
    Edited by Daniel L. d'Heilly and Julie Helen Otto

    Greetings from the New England Historic Genealogical Society! This newsletter has been sent to people who asked to receive it. If you would like to unsubscribe or change your email address, please click on the link at the bottom of this newsletter, and follow the instructions provided.


    A note on the eNews font: we changed the font size and typeface a month ago in response to reader requests. The new look generated both praise and some dissatisfaction - thank you for your kind comments and suggestions. We are changing the font typeface back to the original sans sarif, but staying with the larger size. After much research, we believe this is the solution that will satisfy most of our readers.


    * New Database on NewEnglandAncestors.Org
    * New Research Article for Members on NewEnglandAncestors.Org
    * Spotlight on Libraries: Historic Pittsburgh
    * Celebrate Patriots' Day with Free Access to a Premium DB at NewEnglandAncestors.Org
    * On Sale at the NEHGS Online Store
    * Upcoming Genealogy Events
    * Answers from the Online Genealogist
    * Research Opportunity: "Come Home to New England" in June or July
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures
    * Coming Soon: A New Online Library Catalog
    * NEHGS Council Member on Discovery Channel in "The Real Family of Jesus"
    * From the Volunteer Coordinator
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestors
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Database on

    The Town Book of Bow, New Hampshire

    This bound typescript contains transcriptions of Town Meetings from 1767 to 1820, and Vital Records, from 1710 to 1890. The records were transcribed by Priscilla Hammond in 1933. The town of Bow, in Merrimack County, was organized in 1727. The original volume is part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections.


    New Research Article on

    NEHGS Discussion Forums
    By Rod Moody and Dick Eastman

    "Discussion forums have long been a popular mode of communication for the genealogical community. In forums, new cousins are frequently discovered, research is freely shared, queries are answered, look-ups are done--and occasionally, all of this giving and sharing produces important breakthroughs..."

    Members and Non-members alike are invited to click here for the whole article.


    Spotlight on Libraries: Historic Pittsburgh (

    The Historic Pittsburgh web site is hosted by the University of Pittsburgh's Digital Research Library. Through this web site, a user can explore the historic collections of the University Library System, the Library and Archives of the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania at the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, and the Carnegie Museum of Art.

    Historic Pittsburgh's online collections will interest family history researchers looking for ancestors in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania. The collections include:

    Full-Text Collection
    This collection contains over 500 books from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. You can search the collection by keyword or by bibliographic information. You can also browse through the complete list of books, which are organized alphabetically. A few examples of titles in this collection include: Fort Pitt and its times: A historical sketch by Daniel Agnew (1894); First Alumni Yearbook, by the Alumni Association of the Western University of Pennsylvania; and Archibald Dale Mason: his life, ancestry and descendants, collected and edited by Harrison Denning Mason (1921).

    Maps Collection
    More than 1,000 map plates have been scanned and digitized to create this collection. The maps were originally published by the G. M. Hopkins Company and cover the greater Pittburgh area for the period from 1872 to 1939. They show lot and block numbers, dimensions, street widths, and names of property owners, as well as churches, cemeteries, mills, schools, roads, and railroads. The Maps Collection is searchable by street name, building name and building type.

    The Warrantee Atlas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 1914, may also be found on the site. This atlas shows the original land grants that settlers of what is now Allegheny County received from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The information found on these maps includes the name of the person who received the land grant, the date the land was warranted and surveyed, the property dimensions, and patent information. You can browse the atlas by plate number or the last name of the original owner.

    Census Schedules
    The Census Schedules collection includes schedules for the city of Pittsburgh for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880, and for Allegheny City for 1850, 1860 and 1870. These databases can be searched in a number of ways. You can search all years and locations by name. In addition, you can search the 1880 census for Pittsburgh by street name or number. Using the advanced search option, you can search by first and/or last name, city of birth, occupation, and sex. The search results can be returned by order of appearance in the census or in alphabetical order by last name/first name.

    Other resources on the site include the Images Collections and a Chronology. The Images Collections consist of thousands of photographs of historic Pittsburgh that are found in the collections and Archives at the History Center. More than 600 new images have been added in the past month. Click on the Chronology tab to browse or search an online timeline of Pittsburgh's history covering the period from 1717 to 2003 taken from Pittsburgh: The Story of an American City by Stefan Lorant (1999).

    If your research takes you to Pittsburgh or western Pennsylvania, be sure to visit the Historic Pittsburgh web site at


    Celebrate Patriots' Day with Free Access to a Premium DB at NewEnglandAncestors.Org

    In recognition of Patriot's Day on April 18, the New England Historic Genealogical Society will offer three days of free access to one of our major databases at NewEnglandAncestors.Org. The name of the database and access details will appear in the April 20, 2005, issue of the NEHGS eNews.

    The complimentary open access period begins Wednesday afternoon, April 20, and ends seventy-two hours later on Saturday afternoon, April 23. If you are not yet a member of NEHGS, but want to spend some time researching in one of our premium databases, this is your chance. Now that tax season is behind us, we invite you to spend some of your free time researching your early New England ancestors.

    Patriots' Day is a unique holiday in Massachusetts, home of NEHGS. It commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord which took place on April 19, 1775. It is a state holiday in Massachusetts, Maine, and Wisconsin. In addition to its great historical significance, it is now known to many as the day of the running of the Boston Marathon. NEHGS will tie the holiday to this special database promotion and link genealogists everywhere to a piece of their New England heritage.

    The easiest way to learn which database will be offered, and how to link to it, is to subscribe to the NEHGS eNews at As soon as the eNews is sent next Wednesday afternoon, we will also place a link on our homepage at

    We invite you to forward this offer to a friend.


    On Sale at the NEHGS Online Store

    Save on every book we sell by Gary Boyd Roberts!!!

    Gary Boyd Roberts is the senior research scholar at NEHGS. He is a nationally-recognized author, speaker, and editor on immigrant origins and the ancestry of notable figures. His website,, provides a few examples of his work with NEHGS over the last 30 years. Articles can be found under Gary's byline at

    Best Genealogical Sources in Print: Essays by Gary Boyd Roberts - Normally $50.00, now only $42.50!
    Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants - Normally $75.00, Now $67.50!
    Notable Kin, Volume 1 - Normally $30.00, Now $25.00!
    Notable Kin, Volume 2 - Normally $30.00, Now $25.00!

    Sale ends on 4/20/05.


    Upcoming Genealogy Events:

    July 30, 2005: Marlborough, Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Genealogical Council and the National Archives and Records Administration jointly present a full day seminar. Three tracks of talks give research advice for all levels of expertise. Plan your Northeast research trip to include this program. See for details and registration form.


    Answers from the Online Genealogist:

    1. Subject: Research at New England Historical Society
    My wife and I live in California and are planning a trip to Massachusetts in April. The trip will allow us a few hours on Friday, April 22nd to visit your Genealogical Society. Since the time is so limited, we would like to prepare for the research as much as possible. Would greatly appreciate your help with how to find the following:

    Q1: Ancestor George W. Kenney was born in the Boston Area in 1850. His parents were James and Mary Kenney. Are there birth records from that period? Whom do we see?
    OG: NEHGS has microfilm of Statewide Massachusetts Vital Records 1841-1910 on microfilm. This is located on the 4th floor. However do note that Boston births from about 1800-1840's are very limited. We have a printed volume at the 4th floor reference desk with all recorded births for the city at that time.

    Q2: We believe James and Mary were cousins and her maiden name was Kenney, both from Ireland. Would you have records to help in determining if this is correct? Who should we see?
    OG: You will need to determine the common ancestry between James and Mary. You should try and see if they were married in Massachusetts, and also get their death records. Again the Massachusetts Vital Records from 1841 to 1910 should assist you.

    Q3: Do you have land records of the 1840's?
    OG: We have many deeds. I assume you are looking for Boston? If that is so we have deeds from the 1600's to the 1900's for Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

    You should also schedule time to meet with Marie Daly if she is available on the day of your visit. She is our resident Irish Research Scholar.

    2. Subject: Query about David Newcomb
    I would appreciate any advice you may be able to give me about finding where my ancestor, David Newcomb may be buried. He was a Connecticut Revolutionary War Soldier, which has been confirmed by the DAR and listed on Page 530 of the Record of Connecticut Men in the Military and Naval Service During the Revolutionary War.



    I have traced him through several US Censuses, the Newcomb Family Genealogy and the Chappell Family Genealogy to Sempronius, New York where it is claimed he died on 28 February 1819. I have scoured every cemetery in Cayuga County, Onondaga County and Tompkins County in NYS and cannot locate him. I did find his brother and fellow soldier Thomas Newcomb buried in Taft Settlement Cemetery in Cicero, New York( died on 8 Oct 1851 at the age of 90), but cannot find David or his first wife, Mary "Polly" Woodworth.

    Online Genealogist:
    I would recommend that you borrow the following set of books:  

    Abstract of graves of revolutionary patriots.
    Author.......... Hatcher, Patricia Law.
    Call number..... R.Rm. REF E255/H39/1987 also LOAN
    Publisher....... Dallas, Tex: Pioneer Heritage Press, 1987-1988
    Document type... mon Monograph
    Phys.descr...... 4 v.; 24 cm. 

    This set of books can be borrowed from our Circulating Library. When you make your request you can suggest that the volume relating to the particular surname be sent to you versus the entire set.

    Sadly there are thousands of unmarked gravesites for our veterans. I have at least eight soldiers from the Revolutionary War who do not have a gravestone. I would recommend speaking with a historian from the town of Sempronius to see which cemeteries were in operation in 1819. You may wish to contact the Powers Library in nearby Moravia, N.Y.  


    3. Subject: card index
    I have some notes about the library that refers to a card index for 1704-1776 for Boston News Letters. I cannot find anything like that in the Library Catalog. Does something like that exist there? Is it by name? I may ask someone to research for Dolbeare family members.

    Online Genealogist:
    I would like to inform you that the "index cards" you speak of are published as images in the following set:

    Index of obituaries in Boston newspapers, 1704-1800; Boston Athenaeum.
    Author.......... Codman, Ogden, 1863-1951.
    Call number..... REF F73.25/C6/1968
    Publisher....... Boston, G. K. Hall,
    Year............ 1968
    Document type... mon Monograph
    Phys.descr...... 3v. 27cm.



    Volume one deals with those who died in Boston (1704-1800), and volumes two and three are those who died outside of Boston (1704-1795). Note that I have seen many individuals who died outside of Boston included in the first volume however. If you would need photocopies from this set please let me know. You can request copies online from NEHGS or particular names you are looking for. 

    If you decide to get help with your research, visit

    4. Subject: Suffolk County Land Records 1629-97
    Question: In Ann Lainhart's book A Researcher's Guide to Boston, Chapter 7, she describes a 14 volume set of land records that have indexes of "others" in addition to the Grantor and Grantee indexes. I cannot find anything like that in your library catalog. Do you have microfilmed copies? Do you know where the originals are now?

    She also mentions that there is an index to other people mentioned in land records from 1629-1799. My search results are the same, so my question is the same. Perhaps there is a better title to these indexes for use with your catalog?



    Online Genealogist:
    The fourteen volumes that Ann Lainhart is referring to is the published set of Suffolk Deeds - Call number..... F72/S9/S9 also LOAN. These volumes published between 1880 and 1906 have indexes at the end of each volume. The microtext department on the fourth floor has the following microfilm:

    Suffolk County, MA deeds, 1639-1885 [microform].
    Call number..... F72/S9/S845 Microfilm
    Phys.descr...... 1128 reels; 35 mm.

    At the end of the grantor and grantee indexes on microfilm you will find three microfilm marked "Index to other persons 1639-1799". They are located in microfilm cabinet 43 - drawer "D".

    5. Subject: What Happened to William Henry Fones?
    When I was a young child, I found a slate writing tablet with the name of Will Fones on it. When I took it to my grandmother and asked who it was, she told me that it had belonged to her brother who had died young. The way she had said it, I felt that I had better not ask any more questions about him. Now, about 55 years later, I have spent 3 years trying to find out what happened to him and there are no family members left to ask.

    I have called the Mt. Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport and found that my grandparents and their parents are buried there but William Henry Fones is not. I have 2 photos of him as a young man that have his name on them. The unlabeled photos of him with my mother, taken about 1912 may or may not be him. The features certainly look like him, though he appears older than the 38 he would have been at that time, although an illness might account for that. But here is the mysterious part; in 3 photos taken in my great grandmother's living room, with my grandmother and great grandmother present, there is one of the photos of William, greatly enlarged, in an ornate frame and placed on an easel. Would this have been an indication of mourning? I believe these photos were taken shortly before my grandmother married in 1902. The following is from the write-up I found on the Fones family in Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut, Vol. I-IV:

    "(VI) Adolphus Edwy Fones, son of Christopher Fones, was born June 12, 1841, in Upper Canada , where his parents were located temporarily, and he died March 9, 1906, at Bridgeport, Connecticut . His early education was received in Canadian schools. He came to Bridgeport when he was about twenty-one years old. For a short time he found employment in one of the factories, but afterward studied dentistry in the office of his brother, Dr. Civilian Fones, and was eventually received into partnership with him. Some years afterward Dr. Adolphus E. Fones bought out his brother and continued in business alone up to his death, at his residence, which was for many years at 887 East Main Street, Bridgeport, where his widow now resides.

    In religion he was a Methodist, and a trustee of the church. He was a member of the Odd Fellows. His wife built in Bridgeport, for investment purposes, a large business block and a number of cottages. He married, June 18, 1872, Mary Katie, daughter of Charles Henry Curtis (see Curtis). Children, born at Bridgeport: 1. William Henry married Anna Connors, of Norwalk; he is with the Smith Publishing Company, New York City. 2. Harriet Augusta, married, 1902, Roy Eldridge Tuttle, a dentist, of Bridgeport."

    His father, Adolphus, died in 1906, so it seems likely that William died after that or he would have been mentioned in the past tense in the above description? If his wife came from Norwalk, I wonder if he may have been buried in his wife's hometown?

    William Henry Fones was born April 17, 1874 in Bridgeport. I have found him in the 1880 census, but have been unable to find him in any other records.

    I live in Florida, any suggestions as to where I might look for additional information? I am hoping something will show up in your cemetery resources. I am a "distant" member of NEHGS.

    Online Genealogist:
    I will answer some of the questions you asked, but others are beyond the scope of this column.

    Q1: "in 3 photos taken in my great grandmother's living room, with my grandmother and great grandmother present, there is one of the photos of William, greatly enlarged, in an ornate frame and placed on an easel. Would this have been an indication of mourning?"
    OG: In most cases this would be one of the typical mourning practices. Is there any ribbon, or black crepe on the photo frame?

    Q2: "His father, Adolphus, died in 1906, so it seems likely that William died after that or he would have been mentioned in the past tense in the above description? If his wife came from Norwalk, I wonder if he may have been buried in his wife's hometown?"
    OG: It would appear that William was employed and living in NY at that time. I would check the Norwalk Cemeteries in the indexed Hale Collection.

    At NEHGS we have on microfilm the Hale Collection. This covers many of the gravestone inscriptions for Connecticut. If you are interested, our Research Services staff can be hired to research more involved leads (, or just make copies for you.

    6. Subject: Textile Mills of Western Massachusetts
    What books or other sources exist that would tell me more about the textile industry in western Massachusetts. Specifically, I am interested in the woollen mills of Adams from about 1850-1880.

    Online Genealogist:
    I have examined the collections at NEHGS and could not locate a published history on Adams, Mass. You might wish to contact the Adams Historical Society directly about anything on their textile history.

    Adams Historical Society
    92 Park Street
    McKinley Square
    Adams, Ma 01220

    You may wish to examine county histories for Berkshire to shed more light on those involved in the textile industry. May I recommend the following book you can borrow from the NEHGS Circulating Library.

    History of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, with biographical sketches of its prominent men.
    Author.......... Smith, Joseph Edward Adams.
    Author.......... Cushing, Thomas, b. 1827.
    Call number..... F72/B5/H6/1885 also LOAN
    Publisher....... New York, J.B. Beers & Co., 1885

    7. Subject: Research suggestions
    Here it is the last day of February and I just noticed that you are devoting this month to, among other areas, Canadian Military research.

    I'm trying to verify with documentation the movements of a relative of mine, a Robert STAINES, who was a member, I believe, of the 72nd Regiment of Highlanders from England and Canada. My undocumented information is that my party enlisted in 1838, returned to England from South Africa in 1840, served in Ireland from 1843-1844, in Gibraltar from 1845-1847, in Barbados 1848 to July 1851, and lastly, finished out his military obligations in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick before being discharged late in 1851.

    If you could direct me to a research facility and/or specific researcher for more definitive information I would very much appreciate your help.

    Online Genealogist:
    First off I think you may find the following website about the 72nd Regiment quite interesting: Also if you wanted to know when the 72nd was stationed at particular times in Nova Scotia this link will assist you:

    For information about the records of those who served in the 72nd, send a letter to:


    The Keeper of Public Records
    Public Record Office
    Ruskin Avenue
    Kew, Richmond
    Surrey TW9 4DU
    Telephone: 020-8876 3444
    Fax: 020-8878 8905




    NEHGS Council Member on Discovery Channel in "The Real Family of Jesus"

    A TV program starring NEHGS Council Member Tony Burroughs ran last month on Easter Sunday, March 27. This two-hour special followed his search to identify the family of Jesus -- who they were, how many there were, and what role they may have played in his life. Mr. Burroughs' findings from rare documents, the gospels, historians and archaeologists challenge the traditional belief that Jesus was the single child of Mary and Joseph, and provide evidence suggesting Jesus had a vast family network that inspired and supported him from childhood to death.

    Mr. Burroughs teaches genealogy at Chicago State University and is the author of "Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing The African American Family Tree." To read an interview about the documentary, click or to learn more about Mr. Burroughs, visit


    Research Opportunity: "Come Home to New England" in June and July

    NEHGS invites you to participate in our classic intensive weeklong program "Come Home to New England." Research your roots with our help at our extensive Research Library, one of the finest facilities for genealogical research in the country. Whether you are a first-time participant or have enjoyed this program in the past, you are sure to benefit from a visit to our library. We hope you will come spend this time with our staff and librarians as they welcome you "home" to New England.

    Enjoy a week of guided research in our library, personal one-on-one research consultations, morning lectures, and special access to the library when it is normally closed to the public. The lectures will include a tour introducing first-time researchers to the library and updating long-time participants on the latest resources. This year's Come Homers can opt to take part in an optional tour and lecture at the Boston Public Library to learn about its vast genealogical resources.

    The NEHGS Library: Your Best Source for New England Research
    Since 1845 our Research Library has collected a vast number of compiled genealogies, local histories, census records, vital records, deeds, probates, and military records. The library has the latest in print, microtext, CD-ROM, and Internet resources. NEHGS also provides a highly trained research staff of professional librarians who are eager to help you in your genealogical endeavors. For New England research from earliest colonial times to the twenty-first century, the library offers "one-stop shopping." Many resources are also available for New York, the mid-Atlantic, the South, the Midwest, Atlantic and French Canada, and elsewhere. England, Scotland, Ireland, and Germany are also strongly represented. The library collection is further strengthened by our unique manuscript collection and extensive CD-ROM holdings. Helpful reference librarians serve all four library floors. To help in preparing a research plan, all participants will receive a copy of the recently published A Guide to the Library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    For details and to download a registration form, click here


    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures

    Our "Nutshell" lectures explore a wide range of research skills and sources and are free and open to the public. Offered in the Richardson-Sloane Education Center at 101 Newbury Street on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:15 A.M. unless otherwise stated. Advance registration is not necessary

    April 27, 30 - Scanning 101 - Doug Sisko, NEHGS Staff

    May 4, 7 - Records from the Ivory Tower: Researching in Academic Institutions - Laura Prescott, NEHGS Staff

    May 11 - Oral History - Verify It! - Richard Hite, Rhode Island State Records Coordinator


    Coming Soon: A New Online Library Catalog

    NEHGS has had the same automated library system for twenty years - a very long time in computer-software years. There is a wealth of new technology available today that would bring us the improvements and enhancements our genealogical researchers require, such as:

    - Ease of use
    - Personalization
    - Flexibility
    - Powerful searching
    - Access to more content
    - Improved display

    To make this new technology a reality at NEHGS, we need help from all of you who care about the Society's reference library collections and the access you have to them.

    Please help us bring this new tool to you through a tax-deductible donation to the Society's Library Catalog Project.

    Please call 617 226-1217 or 617 226 1238 for more information or to make a gift or pledge.


    From the Volunteer Coordinator's Desk

    This is the first installment in a new eNews series called "From the Volunteer Coordinator's Desk." Periodically, our Volunteer Coordinator Susan R. Rosefsky will write about contributions made by members of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. This week, Ms. Rosefsky writes about a Manuscript Department project, and volunteer Dorothy Bowmer:

    Dorothy Bowmer recently completed processing the Parsons Family collection after two years of volunteer effort. Her work added a significant number of original documents to what we know about the history of maritime trade between Maine and New Orleans. The collection is stored in 31 archival boxes which stretch for 12.75 linear feet on a bookshelf in our manuscript archives.

    The Parsons collection contains extensive correspondence, starting in the early 1800's and continuing through the the 1900's. This family was involved with shipping, so there is a large quantity of nautical material. Also included are journals, account books, and many deeds of Jotham Parsons. The original documents were used by Joan Wang to write her book, "Captain Jotham Parsons (1783-1860): a genealogical biography", published in 2001.

    Ms. Bowmer helped prepare the collection for patron use by unfolding and flattening documents; removing clips, staples and rubber bands; photocopying newspaper clippings; putting graphics into envelopes and documents into acid free folders; labelling folders and boxes, etc. She also separated the material into groups according to surname, sub-groups by individuals, and series by document type, and produced a written guide to the collection. Finally, our archivist will create a catalogue record and submit it to national databases for access and reference.

    This is an example of the dedication of our volunteers; work that is invaluable to the Society. It is also a very satisfying experience to have completed such a project, as Dorothy will atest as she is ready to start on a new project. Our volunteers, both in Boston and around the country, work diligently for the benefit of all our members. I look forward to sharing their stories with you.

    - Susan R. Rosefsky

    Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestors

    Each week we ask the questions "Who is your favorite ancestor? Or who is your favorite black sheep ancestor? and Why?" If you would like to contribute information on your favorite and/or black sheep ancestor, please send your story in 300 words or less to eNews@NEHGS.Org. If your story is selected, our editors will revise it for length and clarity. Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    Editor's Note: the following story of John Coggeshall was originally much too long for this feature, and after editing (with apologies to Pete Coggeshall), it was still over twice our prescribed length; however, it is a solid "Ancestor" piece and we hope you enjoy it. If you wish to read the original version, please email me at eNews@NEHGS.Org and I'll send it by return email - Dan d'Heilly, editor

    By Peter C. (Pete) Coggeshall of Colorado Springs, Colorado

    My ancestor John Coggeshall first appeared on a list of 33 men who had "tendred and taken the oath of allegiance" prior to sailing to New England. He, his wife, and their five children arrived in Boston on the ship Lyon, September 16, 1632.

    After residing less than two years at Roxbury, the family moved to Boston, where he lived next door to William and Anne Hutchinson and across the street from Governor Winthrop. John Coggeshall served as a member of Boston's first Board of Selectmen in 1634, and as one of four deputies from Boston in the General Court of Massachusetts. But John was "brought down" in 1637 by a religious dispute know as The Antinomian Controversy. Although not a signer of Anne Hutchinson's petition in support of Rev. John Wheelwright, John Coggeshall was swept up in the proceedings. He and others were disfranchised and disarmed in Nov 1637.

    During the winter of 1637-1638, he, William Aspinwall (another Boston deputy who had signed the petition) and William Coddington (the only Boston deputy who had not been disfranchised) requested leave to depart from Boston in peace. When Governor Winthrop reluctantly agreed, Coggeshall and Aspinwall hurriedly wrote to Roger Williams inquiring about the availability of lands near him. By March 7, 1838 the company had grown to 19 men who met in Coddington's Boston house to sign a civil compact that came to be known as the Portsmouth Compact.

    On March 12 the General Court banished them from Massachusetts. With Roger Williams' assistance, they bought the island of Aquidneck (later Rhode Island) from the Narragansett Indians for 40 fathoms of white beads, and began building a town called Pocasset (later Portsmouth). John Coggeshall was one of three named to allot lands in the town.

    In April 1639, Coddington, Coggeshall and 7 others negotiated a dividing line across the middle of the island to separate the town of Portsmouth from the new town of Newport at "the finest harbor in America." The land was divided among all (including servants), with the leaders receiving the largest tracts. Lands once part of my ancestor John Coggeshall's farm are now the location of many fine homes including The Breakers, Rosecliff, and Marble House.

    The three settlements of Providence, Portsmouth, and Newport were independent; but without proper authorization from England. So in the summer of 1643, Roger Williams went to England and obtained a Parliamentary charter uniting the three settlements as "The Incorporation of Providence Plantations in the Narragansett Bay in New England."

    Although Newport and Portsmouth had earlier combined their governments and changed the name of their island to Rhode Island, it was more than two and a half years before all of the settlements united under the new charter (probably because of antagonism between Roger Williams at Providence and William Coddington at Newport, as to which of them was to head the new colony). When the new charter was finally implemented May 19, 1647 at a General Assembly in Portsmouth, compromise candidate John Coggeshall was chosen as the first President of the Providence Plantations.

    This first Assembly "resoundingly declared that their new government would be 'Democratical, that is to say, a government held by free and voluntary consent of all or a greater part of the free inhabitants.' "Rogue's Island," as some people derisively described the colony, was the place "where people think otherwise."

    While still President of "Rhode Island," John Coggeshall died suddenly of unknown causes on November 27, 1647 at age 46. He had endured the hardships of early colonial America, including establishing new settlements at Portsmouth and later Newport. More importantly, John Coggeshall and his compatriots had been instrumental in bringing true religious freedom to America.


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