Tag Archive: New Hampshire

Jul 31

Clues from the Heading & Salutation of a Partial Letter

While consolidating the voluminous mass of paper in my family files recently,  I came across a copy of one page of a letter with the salutaion “Dear Neice [Niece].” The author of the letter told of the cold winter in Montana and the hard ground that was not plowable.
Image of the salutation of a addressed to Florence M Woodward

Who was this mystery writer? I knew of no family members going west to Montana. Immediately I though about the adventuresome brothers of Florence’s mother, Laura Davis. Several of Laura’s siblings had vanished from New Hampshire by 1860. I’d found two of Laura’s brothers, Albe C Davis and George Davis, and a brother-in-law, Jeremiah Judkins, in the records of the Bureau of Land Management obtaining homesteads in Stearns County, Minnesota [see my blog post, “From NH to Minnesota in a Conestoga Wagon,” written July 1st, 2013]. They were identified in the 1860 federal census of Stearns County as well [1860 U.S. Census, Free Population Schedule, Stearns County, Minnesota, page 64; National Archives microfilm M653, reel 574].

My approach was to check the 1900 census for Davis families in or around Livingston [Park County], Montana. I was not disappointed. On the 4 June, a Albe C Davis (born in New Hampshire and of the correct age) was enumerated in Muir, Park County, Montana, with his wife and a boarder[1900 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, Park County, Montana, Enumeration District 74, sheet 2A, dwelling 18, family 18, lines 4-6; National Archives microfilm T623, reel 913; viewed on Ancesstry.com 30 July 2015]. The enumerator also recorded that Albe and Sarah had been married five years and that she was the mother of two children both of whom were still living. Because Sarah would have been about forty-three when the couple married, I suspect that her children were from a previous relationship and both were likely old enough to be out on their own.

At FamilySearch.org I found a marriage record for Albe C. Davis and a Sarah J. Smith at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Livingston by JF Prichard, rector of St. Andrews on 15 October 1894 by   [“Montana, County Marriages, 1865-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F33V-V7F : accessed 30 July 2015]. I know this is “my uncle” Albe C. Davis. On the marriage record his father is listed as Lewis Davis, but his mother is called Nancy Lyons rather than Nancy Glines.

Florence M Woodward, daughter of Daniel Russell Woodward and Laura Davis, was born 28 June 1877. Florence died young on the 21st of December 1893.

Image of part of a letter addressed to Florence M Woodward

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=826

Sep 06

52 Ancestors, Week #35: Captain Daniel Gale

Captain Daniel Gale (1739–1801) was my fourth great grandfather who removed from Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, where most of his children were born, to Gilmanton, Strafford County, New Hampshire,[1] about 1780.

Daniel’s probate files are located in Strafford County, New Hampshire and consist of his will, nomination of executors, and an inventory of his estate.[2]

Daniel penned his last will and testament on the 3rd of October 1801. Witnesses to the will were Isaac Smith, Joseph Parsons, and Edward Colcorde. Daniel appointed his son Stephen and his wife Patience, joint executors and distributed his estate in the following manner:[3]

  1. “… to my beloved wife Patience, the use and improvement of my homestead with all the buildings, privileges & appurtenances thereunto belonging during her natural Life except the south easterly end of the Lot which I have deeded to my son Daniel… to my wife all my personal estate my stock farming tools, wearing apparel and every moveable she paying my debts out of the same.”
  2. “… my executor should pay in one year after my decease two dollars a piece to each of my four daughters viz To my daughter Tilton, Mrs., to my daughter Potter, Mrs. [Shuah] to my daughter Richardson, Mrs. [Betty] & to my daughter Pearly, Mrs. … It is my will that my household goods should be equally divided among my above mentioned daughters.”
  3. “… my executor should pay in one year after my decease one dollar a piece to each of my sons (viz)” Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, & Stephen.
  4. “… to my son Stephen after the decease of his mother all my homestead as above mentioned…”

Daniels will was proven on the 26th of October,[4] and on the same day, “Patience Gale and Stephen Gale, junior yeoman were nominated and allowed to be executors of the last will and testament of Daniel Gale late of Gilmanton deceased who gave bond in the Sum of two thousand Dollars…”[5]

On the 12th of November 1801, an inventory of Daniel’s estate was conducted by Benjamin Page, Peter Folsom, 3d, and Samuel Shepard who appraised the estate at over fourteen hundred dollars.[6] He appears to have had a substantial home (including a desk) and crops, as well as a pew in the Meeting House in the Second Parish in Gilmanton.

Daniel Gale. Born on 2 September 1739 in Kingston; died in Gilmanton, on 10 November 1801 and was buried in Smith Meeting House Cemetery, Gilmanton.[7]

On 29 May 1760 Daniel married Patience Eastman, daughter of Joseph Eastman & Patience Smith, in Kingston.[8] Patience was born on 14 Dec 1738 perhaps in Kingston; and died in Gilmanton, in May 1804.

They had the following children:

  1. Jacob Gale. Born on 5 October 1762 in Kingston; and married Mary Rowell, 5 April 1787.[9]
  2. Joseph Gale. Born on 30 October 1764 in Kingston; and married Sarah Smith, 16 April 1789.[10]

iii.        Shuah Gale. Born on 28 March 1767 in Kingston (twin of Daniel); and married Thomas Potter, 29 September 1793 at the Smith Meeting House in Gilmanton. [11]

  1. Daniel Gale (1767-1829). Please see blog #34 Daniel Gale of Kingston & Gilmanton, N.H.
  2. Stephen Gale. Born 10 April 1774, in Kingston;[12] and died in Gilmanton, 8 January 1832. Stephen and Lois were buried at the Smith Meeting House Cemetery.[13] The couple had seven children.
  3. Susannah Gale. Born in Kingston; probably married a Tilton/Felton or Pearly.[14]

vii.        Mary Gale. Born in Kingston; probably married a Tilton/Felton or Pearly.[15]

viii.        Elizabeth (Betty) Gale. Born in Kingston; and probably married Jeremiah Richardson in March 1796.[16]

Future Research

Property records for Straffod County, New Hampshire, need to be searched for reference to the Gale and Eastman families around the Gilmington area.

Captain Daniel Gale may have participated in the Revolutionary War. A Daniel Gale who enlisted 25 June 1779,[17] but it is not known whether this is my ancestor. Obviously a lot of research needs to be conducted to sort through the various Daniel Gales.


© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.



[1] The town of Gilmanton was established as part of Strafford County, New Hampshire, but in 1840, it became a part of Belknap County which was created from Strafford County.

[2] Strafford County, New Hampshire, Probate Records 1801–1803, Volume 7; Family History Library microfilm #164,175, item 2. Hereinafter cited as Strafford County Probate Records, Volume 7.

[3] Will of Daniel Gale, Strafford County Probate Records, Volume 7: 82-83.

[4] Strafford County Probate Records, Volume 7: 112.

[5] Strafford County Probate Records, Volume 7: 84.

[6] Strafford County Probate Records, Volume 7: 320-322.

[7] Mary Lovering Holman, Margaret Forney, Germaine G. Guiot, and Winifred Lovering, Death Records from the Smith Meeting House Burial Ground (Gilmanton, New Hampshire, Typescript, n.d.), 265. Hereinafter cited as Death Records from the Smith Meeting House Burial Ground.

[8] Daniel Lancaster, The Story of Gilmanton, Embracing the Genealogical and Miscellaneous History from the First Settlement to the Present Time; Including What Is Now Gilford to the Time It Was Disannexed (Gilmanton, New Hampshire: Alfred Prescott, 1845), 265. Hereinafter cited as The Story of Gilmanton.

[9] The Story of Gilmanton, 265.

[10] The Story of Gilmanton, 265.

[11] Mary Lovering Holman, Winifred Holman and others, Records from the First Book of the Smith Meeting House Gilmanton, New Hampshire, 1775-1819; and Cemetery Records from Gilmanton, Barnstead, Salem Centre, N.H., etc. (Salt Lake City: Typescript, n.d.), 37

[12] The Story of Gilmanton, 265.

[13] Tombstone of Stephen Gale and Lois P, his wife, Smith Meeting House Cemetery, Gilmanton, New Hampshire (Route 107 to Smith Meetinghouse Road, part of which is a dirt road); viewed and photographed by Linda Woodward Geiger, September 1991.

[14] Will of Daniel Gale, Strafford County Probate Records, Volume 7: 82-83.

[15] Will of Daniel Gale, Strafford County Probate Records, Volume 7: 82-83.

[16] “New Hampshire, Marriage Records, 1637-1947,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11874-74981-92?cc=1520640 : accessed 06 Sep 2014), 004243166 > image 2408 of 5058; citing Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Concord.

[17] Isaac W. Hammond, editor, Rolls and Documents Related to Soldiers of the Revolutionary War, Volume III (Manchester, New Hampshire: State of New Hampshire, 1887), 13,

Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=809

Aug 22

Will of a Young Soldier

The headstone of Lewis M., son of Lewis & Nancy Davis, indicates that he died the 21st of August 1863 at the age of 31.

What caused his early demise?

This Davis family lived in Merrimack County, New Hampshire around Andover which borders Franklin on it’s western border.

Lewis M. Davis was the fifth known child, first son, of Lewis and Nancy Davis. His siblings were Sarah Jane Davis who married Nathan Gage; Elizabeth who married Mr. Brown; Catherine, who died young and is also buried in Sawyer Cemetery; Nancy who married Jeremiah Judkins; Albe C.; Laura Davis (my direct ancestor) who married Daniel Russell Woodward; Olive B. who married Calvin Call; George Davis; and Alva Davis.[1]

Search results for Lewis M. Davis and several of his siblings in New Hampshire in the records in the 1860 federal census were negative.

My next step was to investigate the Merrimack County probate records for Lewis M. Davis on the premise that by his death at the age of 31 he may have acquired some real or personal property which have resulted in a probate to his legal heirs at the time of his death. I did not expect to find that he had left a will. Much to my surprise, Lewis M. Davis did leave a will. Actually it was unusual for young men with property to write their will in preparation for marching off to war.

Lewis’ opening lines  read, “I Lewis M Davis of the town of Franklin in the County of Merrimack and State of Newhampshire beinn about to start for the ward do make a disposal of my property …”[2]

[1] Siblings of Lewis M. Davis have been reconstructed from a variety of newspaper articles, and an interview by this author with Douglas R. Woodward, grandson of Daniel Russell and Laura (Davis) Woodward, in September 1991, and from a newspaper article, “Fiftieth Anniversary: Mr. and Mrs. Daniel R. Woodward Receive Their Friends,” Franklin Journal Transcript, Franklin, N.H. 4 February 1904.

[2] Will of Lewis M. Davis, file no. 6128, Merriamck County New Hampshire Probate Court, Concord, New Hampshire.

This story will be continued.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=312

Aug 20


It appears that once my ancestors hit the Massachusetts Bay Colony in around 1650 or so, they have not ventured far. Yes a few traveled up the coast a relatively short distance to what is now York County, Maine, and a handful of others moved inland from the coast to Concord, Methuen, or Haverhill, Massachusetts and later north into New Hampshire. However, except for a couple of collaterals, they did not venture far.

It seems that I was the first to make a permanent home elsewhere when my late husband’s work transferred us to the Atlanta area. When Charlie retired he really didn’t want to back to New England—well, it really wasn’t the county side, he just didn’t want to go back to snow. My son moved even further—when traveling around the country after he graduated from the University of Massachusetts, he found Oregon and has lived there ever since.

I’ve been in Georgia over twenty-five years now and am trilled that my kid brother decided to move down from New Hampshire to share my humble mountain home. He arrived two weeks ago with his old German Shepherd, Niko, It’s easier for Niko than it is for Rich. Adjustments need to be made—life style, climate, cultural, et al. Niko already seems to be very content with his new digs.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=306