Category Archives: Parker

July Genealogy Blog Party: Virtual Genealogy Road Trip Sorting Out 2 Benjamin Parkers of Campobello Island, Canada

Elizabeth O’Neal’s July Genealogy Blog Party theme is all about taking a research trip, whether in person (I wish!) or virtually.

Since my Benjamin Parker, and his likely cousin or perhaps nephew, both lived on Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada, there won’t be any in-person visit any time soon.

This road trip most definitely is not in a straight line from beginning to end. Instead, it required multiple return visits to verify new information at Library and Archives Canada, Ancestry, the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick and even a library trip to look at Vital Records from the Eastport Sentinel, Eastport, Maine 1818-1900 by Kenneth L. Willey, published by Picton Press.

I’ve learned many details about my Benjamin Parker, but not all the puzzle pieces fit neatly together. In fact, a few pieces of the puzzle are still missing.

Here is the background information so that the conflicting evidence can be understood.

Benjamin Parker, my 4X great grandfather, was born c1787 in New Brunswick, Canada. His father was Loyalist Jonathan Parker, but no hint of his mother’s name has ever been found.

His death is found in the 1871 Canadian census mortality schedule, noted as “October 1870” of palsy.

Benjamin Parker married Maria Wilson on 12 April 1812 on Campobello Island, where both families lived.

it is believed that Benjamin and Maria had a number of children, although the only direct documentation I have for any of them is the death certificate of my own 3X great grandmother, Sarah Ann Parker, who married Daniel Adams and who died in 1900 in Calais, Washington, Maine. That record lists the names of both her parents.

I have seven children thought to belong to this couple – one son and six daughters.

  1. Robert Wilson, born c1813; given a bequest in the will of his maternal grandfather, Robert Wilson. He died between the 1851 and 1861 censuses and married Jerusha Wilson.
  2. Sarah Ann, born 1817; died 24 January 1900, Calais, Maine; married Daniel Adams.
  3. Hannah, born c1819; drowned when a boat capsized off Campobello Island on 12 July 1835. She was 16 years old. More on this after the other children are named.
  4. Eliza J., born c1822; died 1891-1901; married Robert Rogerson
  5. Frances (Fannie), born c1823; died between 1891-1901; married Thomas Mathews
  6. Mary Jane, born c1826; died between 4 February 1850, when she gave birth, and the 1851 census; married Thomas Nash
  7. Maria, born c1828; died between 1891-1901; married (1) Luther Brown (2) John Mathews

Before continuing on with this story, please keep in mind that the 25 October 1828 edition of the Eastport Sentinel noted that the wife of Benjamin Parker died on Campobello Island.

That might indicate that Maria died giving birth to Maria, born c1828, or shortly afterwards and as mother and baby shared the same given name, it supports the idea that Maria (Parker) (Brown) Mathews was the daughter of Benjamin and Maria.

Next, because Robert and Sarah Ann have documentation (a will and death certificate), I am comfortable stating without hesitation that they are children of Benjamin and Maria.

Now, let’s look at Hannah Parker. The Eastport Democrat published a sad article on 15 July 1835:

Melancholy Accident! Sunday, party of young men and women, seven in number, started from Campobello for Casco Bay Island on a pleasure excursion. Within a few rods of the last named Island, the boat upset and four of the party drowned. The other three saved themselves by holding onto the boat until other boats came from Campobello to their relief, a short distance of two miles. Those drowned were: Alexander TINKER, age 16, Hannah PARKER, age 16, Thankful WILSON, age 16, all of Campobello and Miss Sally Ann CHAPLIN of Digby, N.S. Those saved were: George NEWMAN, Benj. PARKER and Maria WILSON. The young woman who was saved was at first clear from the boat,and with much skill and judgement supported herself and sister for a considerable length of time with the aid of an oar. She was unable to keep her sister in such a position on the oar as to prevent her drowning,and when she found the vital spark was extinguished, she let go of her and endeavored to save herself by getting on the bottom of the boat which, with the assistance of the two young men, she succeeded in doing.

I don’t know of any relationship between Sally Ann Chaplin from Nova Scotia and the others, but the Tinkers, Parkers, Newmans and Wilsons all intermarried.

Note that one Benjamin Parker was one of the survivors.

My Benjamin was a fisherman and spent his daily life on the ocean. I wonder if perhaps he was the “captain” for the excursion to Casco Bay Island and he was taking his daughter Hannah and some friends across the water?

These puzzle pieces fit together nicely until one other fact is taken into consideration. There is a second Benjamin Parker, born c1805, who also lived on Campobello Island. He, too, could have been a member of the sailing party that headed to Casco Bay Island.

While this Benjamin was too young to be the father of Hannah born in 1819, she very easily might have been a younger sister.

What else is known about this Benjamin Parker? He appears in just one census – that of 1851. The St. John Religious Intelligencer reported on 11 September 1858 that Benjamin Parker of Campobello Island died on 31 August 1858, age 53 years.

His parents are not known, but the 1811 Campobello militia lists includes three households of Parkers:

John Parker, born 1754 & John Jr., born 1787
Jonathan, born 1764, Benjamin, born 1787 & Thomas, born 1793
Richard, born 1773 & William, born 1794

The ages of the men on the militia list leave but two possibilities for Benjamin’s father – John Parker Sr. and Richard Parker. Jonathan is my line and Benjamin is accounted for. The others are all too young to have a son born in 1803.

Given that my Benjamin appears in the 1861 census with his family, there is no doubt as to which Benjamin died.

The 1851 census is where things get interesting. Remember, I noted the death announcement of the wife of Benjamin Parker in October 1828?

Well, there was also a marriage between one Benjamin Parker and Olive Mitchell on 28 July 1828, two months before the death notice of a Mrs. Benjamin Parker.

One further marriage record for Benjamin Parker has been found, that of my Benjamin to Susan Herson, on 19 December 1848, also in the West Isles, which was the parish to which Campobello belongs.

What does the 1851 census tell us?

Here is the family of Benjamin Parker, born 1803, in Campobello. The eldest daughter’s entry is VERY difficult to read:

Benjamin, 48, father
Olivia (?), 19, daughter
Lydia, 17, daughter
Hezekiah, 14, son
John, 10, son
Benjamin, 8, son
Priscilla, 5, daughter

I can agree with “Oliv” in the census entry, but that doesn’t look like and “ia” at the end, as others have interpreted the name.

In any case, Benjamin’s wife died before this census was taken.

Does the 1851 entry for my Benjamin Parker help? Not really, except by this time he was living next door on Deer island, not Campobello.

Benjamin, 63, head
Susan, 35
George, 18
Susan, 16
Benjamin, 14

The 1848 marriage record for Susan Herson and Benjamin Parker includes the notation that permission of parent was given and in parentheses it says (John Herson).

Susan Herson’s age varies in records, placing her birth between 1814-1819. She was clearly well over the age of 21, so why did her father consent?

Furthermore, no other marriage record has been found for Susan before 1848 and, except for the 1828 marriage to Olive Mitchell, no other marriage record for any Benjamin has been found in that time period.

This presents a real problem. Look again at the ages of the children at home with Benjamin and Susan, who had only been married for three years at the time of the 1851 census.

There are several scenarios here;

  1. My Benjamin Parker married Olive Mitchell in 1828 and she was the mother of these three children. That means that Maria Wilson Parker’s death was previous to July 1828 and no death announcement was placed in the newspapers.
  2. If so, then Benjamin Parker born c1803 has an undiscovered marriage to an unknown woman and she is the lady who died in October 1828.
  3. If so, then there is a second unrecorded marriage for Benjamin born c1803 and that wife is the mother of his children.
  4. Susan Herson, for whatever reason, married using her maiden name, and had one, two or three children by an unknown husband.
  5. Not likely, given the time period and small island community, but that Benjamin and Susan lived together for years before marrying and having three children.

I’ve tried tracing descendants of both Benjamins. We know that Benjamin born c1803 died in 1858. However, I can find no trace of any other member of his 1851 household. They just disappeared.

Of the three children at home with Benjamin and Susan, the younger Benjamin, aged 14, seems to have died soon after, as the couple had a son, Benjamin, born in 1852.

George married, had a family, and removed to Plymouth County, Massachusetts, passing away in Bridgewater, Massachusetts in 1924. His death certificate states he was born in Canada, but lists UNKNOWN for all details about his parents.

Susan married William Louis Carr and died in Portland, Cumberland, Maine in 1914. Her death certificate states that her parents are Benjamin Parker and Susan Herson. I believe daughter Susan regarded Susan Herson as her natural mother, not her stepmother.

Personally, I believe that Olive Mitchell who married in July 1828 married Benjamin born c1803. That seems more reasonable than a man having two unrecorded marriages.

I’ve even searched Maine records for possible marriages, but found no good suspects there.

My virtual road trip has been interesting, even though it seems to have left me with more questions than when I began.





It Pays to Look Again! Benjamin Parker and Thomas Adams, 1851

As I march through my thousands of images, I am getting more and more motivated to keep at it for one simple reason. I am actually learning new bits of information about my ancestors.

Here is my latest example of why it definitely pays to take a long hard look at documents you already have amassed.

Benjamin Parker and Maria Wilson are my 3X great grandparents on my maternal grandfather’s branch of the family tree. Maria died in 1828 and I knew that Benjamin had married (2) Susan Herson. It doesn’t seem like much work had been done on Benjamin and Susan, at least not that I found online.

Benjamin lived until October 1870, when his death was noted in the 1871 Canadian census of Campobello Island in the West Isles of New Brunswick, Canada. As far as I knew, Benjamin was either born on Campobello or else moved there as a young child and spent his life on the island. His occupation was fisherman.

I wanted to document children that Benjamin apparently had with Susan Herson so I went looking for them in the 1851 census of the West Isles, which is the “neighborhood” covering all the islands off the coast of Maine and New Brunswick that belong to Canada.

Source: Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Notice that the Canadian census doesn’t have a title header on the pages like the U.S. census has. Therefore, indexing shows this page as part of the West Isles collection.

The Parkers are the second family in the list:

Crop of the Above Image

I noted the three children living with the Parkers, cited the Canadian census as my source and thought no more about it.

Now, one more bit of information you need to know is that Benjamin and Maria Parker’s daughter, Sarah Ann, married Daniel Adams on Deer Island in 1836. Daniel Adams was the son of Thomas and Sarah (Brawn) Adams.

Now to the present. I’ve been renaming and reattaching all my images and worked on Thomas Adams, the father of Daniel who married Sarah Ann Parker. I had Canadian census images for 1851, but couldn’t find Thomas, or his wife Sarah, in 1861. As both were born in the 1780s, I assumed that they had both died before that census.

With little available in the way of a paper trail, I collected images of land deeds which involved Thomas Adams. There were a couple of transactions between John Morrison and Thomas Adams, both of Adams Island, which wasn’t a surprise since I knew Thomas Adams spent most of his life on the island named for his family.

I saved the 1851 census page of the West Isles that included Thomas and Sarah Adams. He was listed near the bottom of the page, living next door to John Morrison. On the other side of the Morrison family was Henry Adams, one of Thomas’s sons. None of this was a surprise.

What shocked me was when I renamed the 1851 census image and, at first, thought that somehow I had confused two families and incorrectly named the image. Take a close look:

My eye noticed the yellow arrowed family first – Benjamin Parker!!! Then, I scanned down the page and saw Thomas Adams. There is absolutely no doubt that the families on this page were living on Adams Island because the land deed I found for Thomas and John Morrison is dated 1852.

BENJAMIN PARKER, who I thought never lived anywhere but Campobello Island, actually lived on Adams Island in 1851!!! Plus, they only lived a few doors away from Thomas and Sarah Adams.

Adams Island never had much going for it except for some copper mining and has been uninhabited for decades and decades.

Adams Island

The families lived in the cove to the right. Compare this island with Campobello Island – the very same Campobello at which President Franklin Roosevelt loved to vacation.

Source: Google Maps

Red = Deer Island (not Deer Isle, which is part of Maine)
Green = Campobello Island
Purple = Adams Island

I have no idea why Benjamin Parker chose to move to Adams Island, but he most definitely lived at least one other place besides on Campobello Island. This census proves it!

Lesson Learned:
Taking a new look with fresh eyes can bring surprises!



Will of Elisha Parker: Releasing Violett, Jeruba and Savina, Middlesex County, NJ 1717

The will of Elisha Parker of Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey was written on 8 September 1709, but it was not probated until 30 June 1717. It is unusual, at least to me, in two respects.

First, Elisha owned three slaves. It was much less common for slaves to be owned in northern states, so I was a bit taken aback reading his will since he was a resident of New Jersey and his parents had migrated there from Massachusetts. The second, even bigger surprise, was that while one of his slaves, Violett, is described as “my negro woman”, the second slave is “my Indian boy named Jeruba” and the third is “my Indian girl named Savina.” I don’t think I’ve ever read a will before where the slaves were identified as Native American, although I know there were some.

A transcribed version of this will was found online.

In the name of God Amen I Elisha Parker of Woodbridge in the County of Middlesex, Province of Nova Casarva or New Jersey (?) being in perfect health in sound disposing mind and memory, believing that soon it may please God to remove me from this transitory life, I think fit to ascertain my mind in the site of all that God of his infinite Goodness hath placed and bestowed on me, by this, my last will and Testament which I make in Truth and form following:

First, I commit and bequeath my soul to God and give it hoping for Salvation in and through the merits and motivation of our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and my body to be devotedly interred by my hereafter named, sure to remain in love and certain hope of a Glorious Resurrection.

Thereby I would appreciate all debts I owe to be justly and full paid with all convenient speed by my executors.

3rdly – I do give, divest and bequeath to my dearly beloved wife, Ursula, in Law and full of her right and claim to the third part of my Estate, and not otherwise, as follows – first my Dwelling or Manor house in Woodbridge, with the land thereunto adjoining and the Orchard, Gardens, Houses and appurtenances. All of my pasture containing thirty-five acres surrounded by land of Sam Smith, Seven and Henry Freeman to Henry Freeman Jr. by the highway. Also my three acres of Meadow lying upon the waterfront of Pasaick Creek, to have, hold and enjoy, Houses, Meadow and Furniture during the term of her natural life. I do give unto her also my negro woman named Violett. . . . I also do bequeath unto her the sum of Two Hundred pounds and one equal majority or half part of all my household goods or furniture, excepting certain particulars hereafter mentioned bequeathed to my daughters.

All the remaining part of my household goods or furniture I first give to the care of my said wife to be carefully preserved for the use of son John until he arrives at the full age of twenty years. Then I give and devise unto my beloved son Elisha all those Farm Lands, attachments and appurtenances to the same belonging, which I purchased from Benjamin Hull, John Worth, Jamiel Clemence Jr. and Sr., and being in the towns of Woodbridge and Piscataway in the south County of Middlesex to have and to hold to him and his heirs forever. I do give unto him also my Indian boy named Jeruba and one hundred pounds to be payed when he arrive at the age of twenty-one years.

5th Item I do give and bequeath to my well-beloved daughter, Elizabeth, my Indian girl named Savina and the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds to be payed unto her when she arrives at the age of twenty-one years but in case she should marry before she arrives at that age, she is to be payed at the time of her marriage.

6th Item I do give and bequeath to my well-beloved daughter Ursula, the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds to be paid when she arrives at the age of twenty-one years, or at the time of her marriage should it happen before.

7th Item I do give and bequeath unto my well-beloved daughter Mary, the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds to be payed unto her after the manner as I have appointed to her other two sisters. I then do give unto her also my silver Jam Pots and a bed, comfortably furnished.

8th Item I do give and bequeath to that child unborn which my beloved wife is now big of, be it son or daughter when it comes to the age of twenty-one years, the sum of two hundred pounds.

9th Item I do order and appoint all my children to be maintained out of my efforts until the age of eighteen years, and no longer.

Elisha’s son John was to be sole executor, when he comes of age, until then his wife, Adam Hude and John Kinsey were to oversee his estate.

Witnesses – Tho: Farmer, Miles Forster, George Willocks.

Elisha Parker’s will was recorded in Liber A: 78.