Category Archives: Bucknam

Oliver Scripture & Mary Goddard Bucknam

I have mentioned the Scripture and Bucknam families in passing, but with the exception of my 3x great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Scripture, who married George Rogers Tarbox, I haven’t written much about these old New England families.

Oliver Scripture was born 10 October 1796 in Mason, Hillsboro, New Hampshire, the son of James Scripture and Sibbel Shepley. Oliver married Mary Goddard Bucknam on 1 December 1819 in Washington, Sullivan, New Hampshire. She was born on 11 February 1801, also in Mason, the daughter of Joses Bucknam and Abigail Hay. Both James Scripture and Joses Bucknam fought in the Revolutionary War.

About 1835, Oliver and Mary migrated from Mason, New Hampshire to their new home in Glenburn, Penobscot, Maine.

Why the family decided on Glenburn, Maine is not known. Located over 260 miles away, it was not an insignificant journey back in the 1830’s. However, three farms away was the family of William H. Bucknam, brother of Mary Bucknam Scripture. They likely felt the farming opportunities were better in Maine.

Little is known about their day to day life, except for the fact that Oliver and Mary remained in Glenburn for the rest of their lives. Most of their children remained in the area, too.

Their first seven children were born in Mason, the last four in Glenburn.


  1. William, born 24 September 1820; died 25 February 1866, Hudson, Penobscot, ME. He married Julia Ann Cowan. She was born about 1820 in Maine and predeceased William by about five weeks, dying on 16 January 1866. It appears that Maine had a cholera epidemic that year, so it is possible that William and Julia both died from that disease. I have to wonder if my 3x great grandmother, William’s sister, also died of cholera. She passed away only two weeks after William on 11 March 1866. Although she lived in Calais, she could have gone to Glenburn to help the family or cholera could easily have reached Calais about the same time as Glenburn.
  2. Oliver Shepley, born 19 April 1823; died 28 June 1893 in Glenburn, ME. He married Mary A., c1856, probably in Glenburn, ME.
  3. Ward, born 15 July 1825; died 21 December 1896, Kenduskeag, Penobscot, ME. He married (1) Frances A. Hasey, c1855. She died 3 days after giving birth to her only child. (2) Hannah W. Mercer, 11 October 1857, Glenburn, ME.
  4. Mary Elizabeth, born 2 December 1827; died 11 March 1866, Calais, ME. She married George Rogers Tarbox.
  5. Alfred J., born 24 May 1830; died 30 September 1904, Glenburn, ME. He married Mary, c1862.
  6. George, born 5 November 1832; died young.
  7. Nancy Bucknam, born 24 August 1834; died 23 January 1921, Georgetown, El Dorado, CA. She married (1) William Henry Grover, c1850, probably in Glenburn, ME (2) DeWitt Clinton Benjamin, between 1870-1880, probably in El Dorado County, CA.
  8. Lucretia, born 25 April 1837; died 15 September 1892, Calais, Washington, ME. She married Benjamin Shattuck, 18 November 1858, Robbinston, Washington, ME.
  9. Lavina L., born 11 January 1840; died 12 November 1882, Glenburn, ME. She married William H. Davis, c1863, probably in Glenburn, ME.
  10. Joses George, born 10 August 1842; died 10 September 1918, Hudson, Penobscot, ME. He later was known as George Joseph Scripture. He married Helen M. Whitney, c1870.
  11. Abigail, born 4 March 1845; likely died between the 1850-1860 censuses, as she was not at home in 1860 and no further record has been found of her.

I have no photos of Oliver or Mary Scripture.

However, back in the early 1980’s, I was able to visit their graves in Glenburn.

Oliver Scripture Grave Mary Scripture Grave
Gravestones of Oliver and Mary G. Bucknam Scripture
Glenburn Cemetery, Maine

Scary Times for Joses Bucknam

Joses Bucknam was a brave man, serving multiple enlistments during the Revolutionary War. His pension file is quite lengthy, but here is a summary of his service:

Joses Bucknam Pension File #1395 and W 24,680

  1. March 1776 – served one month under Capt. Hale at Ticonderoga
  2. Later, served four months at Fort Hill in Boston3.
  3. March 1777, enlisted for 3 years under Capt. Chiles and was discharged in November 1780 at West Point
  4. April 1781, enlisted on board a 20 gun ship, but in June 1781, they were defeated by a 36 gun British frigate, taken first to Ireland and then to  England. He remained imprisoned until June 1782 until he was part of a prisoner exchange.

War is a scary time for all anyway, but Joses was not only captured, he was shipped across the Atlantic Ocean, which was a dangerous trip in and of itself.

I’ve crossed the Atlantic in 3000+ passenger cruise ships with stabilizers. I don’t think I would have cared much for frigate travel, especially being locked in the bottom of the ship.

The trip to England might well have been the less scary event compared to life in Old Mill Prison.

First, colonial prisoners could be charged with treason, which meant facing possible execution.

Captured officers fared better than enlisted men. As Joses was a private, he didn’t enjoy any of the niceties given to those of higher rank. Joses’s daily rations consisted of something like one pound of bread, a quart of beer, 3/4 pound of beef and one cup of peas five times a week. Not only was nutrition there very poor, but the bread was said to have been baked with many straw ends in it.

His bed would have been straw on the ground. If he arrived at the prison with any decent clothes still existing, they would have been taken from him and replaced with wornout rags.

Medical care was almost non-existent. Scourges of smallpox killed some of the prisoners, other maladies and injuries brought on the deaths of others.

The only hope for these men was escape or exchange. Even if they escaped, they faced the huge obstacle of where next to go. With no money and no local family or friends to help them, they had little chance of remaining free and even less of a chance to return to the colonies.

It wasn’t until 1781 that the British recognized men classified as “prisoners of war.” Before then, they were just plain rebels or considered outright criminals. No written record exists today detailing any escape attempts made by Joses, but a year after he was captured, he was part of a prisoner exchange of British and rebel troops. Benjamin Franklin was an integral part of the efforts to successfully implement these exchanges.

Joses stated in his pension affadavit that he was freed in June 1782, but no details are given as to how he arrived back in the colonies and made his way home to his family.

He again had to make the trip across the Atlantic, but he survived capture, imprisonment and return. I can only imagine how happy Joses and his family were to be reunited. He had been listed as a deserter after his capture. When he didn’t return home, they likely thought he had died.




William Bucknam & Sarah Knower, One More Double Descent

Like my other ancestors, William and Mary Lakin of Ruddington, England, William Bucknam and Sarah Knower have many descendants. This is the last of my double descent lines, at least that I’ve discovered so far, but this line has an interesting twist because my double descent is through their grandson, Joses (1641-1694), with one line from each of his two wives.

Here is how the line looks:

William Bucknam & Sarah Knower Family

This is the last of my multiple descent lines so here are the same old generations, repeated for the last time:

6. Joses Bucknam = Abigail Hay
1761-1835              1768-1854
Joses is the ancestor under whom I joined the National    Society Daughters of the American Revolution. He was a soldier captured by the British and sent to the notorious Old Mill Prison in Portsmouth, England, where he remained until June 1782. At one point, it was thought he had deserted, when in reality, he had been captured.

7. Oliver Scripture = Mary Goddard Bucknam
1796-1862                1801-1879

8. George Rogers Tarbox = Mary Elizabeth Scripture
1818-1895                              1827-1866

9. Calvin Segee Adams = Nellie F. Tarbox
1843-1921                         1856-1927

10. Charles E. Adams = Annie Maude Stuart
1877-1921                  1874-1940

11. Vernon Tarbox Adams = Hazel Ethel Coleman
1899-1968                             1901-1995

12. George Michael Sabo = Doris Priscilla Adams
1926-1985                            1923-2008

13. Linda Anne Sabo – me!