Category Archives: Scripture

A Mourning Photo? Questioning a Photo of Mary Elizabeth (Scripture) Tarbox

Thanks to Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge this past weekend, I took a much closer look at another very old family photo in my collection.

I am quite sure this photo of my 3X great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Scripture, because I have a couple of other tintypes of her husband, George Rogers Tarbox.

There is a second reason I believe this is Mary. Years ago, when I first saw it, there was such a similarity in the facial appearance to my 2X great grandmother, Nellie Tarbox Adams.

Nellie was Mary’s daughter, but this definitely isn’t Nellie. The woman’s clothing is very 1860s in style and Nellie was just a little girl at the time.

However, I mentioned that I took a really close look at this photo this weekend and I now a definite idea of exactly when this photo was taken.

Let me point out a few things about this picture:

  1. Mary’s eyes are closed. Today, we end up with lots of pictures taken with our eyes closed, but not so back then. The photographer would have taken several pictures and I doubt anyone would buy a picture of themselves with eyes closed.
  2. Look in the area of Mary’s right elbow. That looks like a wooden brace, not the back of a regular chair.
  3. Next, look at how straight (and somewhat unnatural looking) her left hand is as it is placed on top of her right hand.
  4. Lastly, look at the bottom of the photo. There are no legs to be seen or even the bottom of her dress.

In typical photos taken during the Civil War era, ladies showed off their stylish clothing by standing up, often in profile view, with an arm on a podium, or touching some other pieces of furniture.

There is one more detail to share – Mary Elizabeth (Scripture) Tarbox was born on 2 December 1827 died on 11 March 1866 in Calais, Washington, Maine, at the very young age of 38.

I am thinking that this may have been taken within a day or two of her death and that this is a mourning photo.

Please leave a comment – what do you think?

Benjamin Shattuck & Lucretia Scripture of Calais, ME, 1800s

Benjamin Shattuck and Lucretia Scripture are a collateral branch of my family tree, connected by Lucretia, who is the sister of my 3X great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Scripture, who married George Rogers Tarbox and settled in Calais, Washington, Maine.

Benjamin and Lucretia married on 18 November 1858 in Robbinston, Washington, Maine, which borders Red Beach and Calais.

I believe the above photos are Benjamin and Lucretia (Scripture) Shattuck, taken at different times.

Mary Scripture Tarbox died at the young age of 39 years of an unknown cause. However, my 2X great grandmother remained close to her aunt and uncle, who also lived in Calais.

I am sure of this because I have inherited several family photos of the Shattucks and even a couple that I believe are Scripture uncles, who lived in Glenburn, Penobscot, Maine.

I’ve written about the Shattucks in the past, but only in dribs and drabs. Today, it is time to take a much closer look at Benjamin, Lucretia, their children and descendants.

Benjamin Shattuck was born on 16 February 1833 in Maine and died on 27 October 1900, in Calais. The 1900 census provided their address – 53 Shattuck Road – but it’s a rural road and Google hasn’t made it down there, so I have no idea what their home looked like. In their day, Red Beach was a small community near the “big city” of Calais. Today, it is part of Calais.

The census taker visited on 23 June 1900 and Benjamin died just 3 months later. He was enumerated as a farmer and was only 67 years old, but likely in fragile health at that time. His cause of death is listed as hepatitis in the left lung for 8 months with pneumonia as a contributory cause.

Lucretia predeceased Benjamin. She was born on 25 April 1837 in Glenburn, Penobscot, Maine, the daughter of Oliver and Mary (Bucknam) Scripture. She likely met Benjamin after her sister, Mary, married George and moved to Calais. She died on 15 September 1892, aged 55 years, of heart failure or mitral insufficiency with a note that it was possibly caused by acute rheumatism, suffered many years before.

Benjamin and Lucretia were the parents of five known children and might have lost several in childhood, based on gaps in the birth years.

This family is buried at Red Beach Cemetery, but Find-a-Grave has only 63% of it photographed.


1. Annie G., born 8 November 1858; died 16 June 1896, Calais, Washington, Maine. Annie was a teacher who didn’t marry. Cause of death was phthisis, which was tuberculosis. Note that Annie is 6 months old in 1860, enumerated with no age in 1870 and aged 11 years in 1880. I originally thought that Annie in 1860 died young and a second daughter was given the same name. However, her death certificate gives an age of 37 years, 7 months and 8 days.
2. Benjamin, born 17 August 1863; died 25 January 1929, Perry, Washington, Maine; married Minnie Noble, 26 September 1888.
3. Edgar Scripture, born 11 December 1866; died 21 January 1910, Calais, Maine; unmarried
4. William Henry, born 8 November 1872; died 1936; married Ethel Jane Johnson, 5 March 1913, Perry, Washington, Maine
5. Mary Ella, born 21 September 1877; married John A. Sprague, 1 July 1915, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada; had no known children

Therefore, of the five known children of Benjamin and Lucretia, only two sons married and had children – Ben, Jr. and William Henry.

Ben Jr. and wife Minnie Noble had two children:

1. Benjamin Isaac, born 29 November 1894; unmarried in 1930, when he was a boarder in Pembroke, Washington, Maine and died sometime later that year.

2. Lola Noble, born 19 August 1899; died 17 February 1984; married Austin Calvin Humphries, 24 December 1912, Calais, Washington, Maine. Austin was born in 1889; died 1975.

William Henry and wife Ethel Jane Johnson were the parents of one child:

1. Leonard E., born 8 February 1916; died 24 May 1968; married Norma Isabella Diffin, 25 December 1949, Perry, Washington, Maine. Norma was born 27 February 1923; died 26 August 2017. Both are buried at Red Beach Cemetery.

Both Lola and Leonard have descendants today. I would love to get in touch with these distant cousins. 🙂


King Philip’s War and the Great Swamp Fight of 1675

I had never heard of the Great Swamp Fight until I came across mentions of several of my ancestors having fought in King Philip’s War (1675-1676), an on-going conflict between English settlers and Indians, led by Chief Metacom, named King Philip by the colonists, who wanted to drive the English out of the Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts areas. It turned out to be the bloodiest war in New England history.

What piqued my interest in this battle is the fact that I earned my B.A. degree at the University of Rhode Island, which is located close to the presumed location of the Indian fort. The National Park Service has marked the site in South Kingston, Rhode Island.

The first attack of the war happened on 20 June 1675 when Indians attacked colonists in Swansea, Massachusetts. During the next year and a half, the Indians and colonists attacked, inflicting death and damages on each other.

Several Indian tribes had joined King Philip’s coalition, but the Narrangansett Indians had remained neutral in southern Rhode Island. However, colonists feared that they might decide to join Metacom’s forces.

The last stand of the Narragansett Indians was the brutal battle of the Great Swamp Fight of 1675, also called the Great Swamp Massacre, because of the way many Indians, including  women and children, met their end in the massive Indian fort. Up to 1,000 Indians are thought to have been killed, while colonists lost about 70 men.

A detailed description of the battle is found in “The Great Swamp Fight the 19th of December 1675,” a talk given by Hamilton B. Tompkins to the New York Chapter of the Colonial Order in April 1906. (, Public Domain)

An excerpt:

Early in December, the Colonial troops commenced to gather. There were six companies from Massachusetts, under the command of Major Appleton and Captains Moseley, Gardner, Davenport, Oliver and Johnson; from Connecticut, five companies, under Major Treat and Captains Seeley, Gallup,Mason, Watts and Marshall; two companies from Plymouth,under Major Bradford and Captain Gorham….

On the 15th, Bull’s Garrison House, in South Kingstown, at what is now known as Tower Hill, intended for a place of shelter, had been attacked by the Indians and demolished. At Pettaquamscutt, where shelter was also expected, it was found that the Indians had destroyed the buildings and butchered the inhabitants…….

Captain Oliver in his account says: “In the morning, Dec. 19th, Lord’s Day, at five o’clock, we marched; snow two or three feet deep and withal an extreme hard frost so that some of our men were frozen in their hands and feet and thereby disabled from service.”……..

The stronghold of the Narragansetts, fifteen miles away, was reached at one o’clock. This fort which the Indians had fortified to the best of their ability, was on a solid piece of upland, encompassed by a swamp. In it were gathered according to the best authorities, about thirty-five hundred Indians. On the inner side of this natural defense they had driven rows of palisades, encircled about with a hedge nearly a rod in thickness; and the only entrance to the enclosure was by a fallen tree or log; four or five feet from the ground, ” this bridge being protected by a block house right over against it, from which,” says Hubbard, “they sorely galled our men that first went in.” In spite of the fact the English were wearied by their long march through the snow, scarcely halting to refresh themselves with food, immediately upon arriving they commenced the onset. The Colonists had been so long in making their preparations that the Indians were well apprised of their approach and had made the best arrangements in their power to withstand them. The beginning was most disastrous to the officers. Captain Johnson,of Roxbury, was shot dead on the bridge as he was rushing over at the head of his company. Captain Davenport, of Boston, had succeeded in penetrating within the enclosure when he met the same fate. Captain Gardner, of Salem, and two of the Connecticut Captains, Gallup, of New London, and Marshall, of Windsor, were also killed outright, while Lieutenant Upham, of Boston, and Captain Seeley, of Stratford, received wounds which afterwards proved fatal. Major Bradford, of Plymouth, was sorely wounded, as well as Captain John Mason, of Norwich, and Captain Benjamin Church. Notwithstanding the fall of their leaders, the rank and file pressed on, and although the entrance was choked by the bodies of the slain yet, over the mangled corpses of their comrades, the assailants climbed the logs and breastworks in their efforts to penetrate the fort. Once they were beaten out, but they soon rallied and regained their ground. The conflict raged with varying success for nearly three hours. “The struggle,” says Arnold, “on either side was one for life;” ‘ ‘ Whichever party,” he adds, “should triumph, there was no hope for the vanquished; Christian and savage fought alike with the fury of fiends, and the sanctity of the New England Sabbath was broken by the yells of the savages, the roar of musketry, the clash of steel and all the demoniac passions which make a battle ground an earthly hell. ‘ ‘ The carnage was fearful; the result was yet doubtful; until an entrance to the fort was effected in the rear by the reserve guard of the Connecticut troops.” The Indians, who were all engaged at the first point of attack, were surprised and confused by a heavy fire behind them ; their powder was nearly consumed ; but their arrows continued to rain a deadly shower upon the charging foe. The wigwams were set on fire within the fort, contrary to the earnest entreaty of Captain Church, who, with his knowledge of military matters and the condition of the assailants, realized the importance of shelter and food to the exhausted conquerors.’ ‘ He says in his narrative that “he begged them to forbear and spare the wigwams in the fort from fire,” for, he adds, “they were all lined with baskets and tubbs of grain and other provisions sufficient to supply the whole army until Spring, and every wounded man might have a good warm house to lodge in, which otherways would necessarily perish with the storm and cold, and, moreover, that the army had no other provisions to trust unto or depend upon; that he knew the Plymouth forces had not so much as a biscake left, for he had seen their last dealt out.”….

The infuriated Colonists had already commenced the work of destruction; in a few minutes the frail material of five hundred Indian dwellings furnished the funeral pyre of the wounded and dying; the blazing homes of the Narragansetts lighted their path to death.” More than a thousand of the enemy perished. The English lost, in killed and wounded, according to Hubbard, over two hundred; and other accounts place the numbers still higher. A large proportion of these might have been saved if the advice of Church had been followed. When night fell there was no shelter or provisions for the conquerors or conquered. The Indians escaped to an open cedar swamp in the neighborhood, where many perished for want of food or covering. “The fate of the English,” says Rhode Island’s historian, “was no better. They had taken a weary march of fifteen miles since daybreak, without halting for food, and had spent the remainder of the day in desperate combat. They had now to retrace their steps in the dark, through a dense forest, with a deep snow beneath their feet and a December storm howling about their heads. By the glare of the burning wigwams they formed their line of march back to Wickford, bearing with them their dead and wounded,” a march, says Cotton Mather, ” made through hardships than an whole age could not parallel.” It was two o’clock before they reached the camping ground. The cold was severe ; many died on the way ; the limbs of the wounded were stiffened; and fatigue had disabled most of the remainder. There was no shelter or provisions of any sort, and when morning dawned it was found that death had done a melancholy work. The heavy storm during the night had wrapped many a brave soldier in his winding sheet, and the depth of the new fallen snow made it difficult for the survivors, in their weak condition, even to move. Captain Church truthfully says in his narrative: “Having burned up all the houses and provisions in the fort, the army returned the same night in the storm and cold, and I suppose that every one that is acquainted with that night most deeply laments the miseries that attended them, especially the wounded and dying men. But it mercifully came to pass that Captain Andrew Belcher arrived at Mr. Smith’s from Boston with a vessel laden with provisions for the army, who must otherwise have perished for want.” After the Great Swamp Fight the sick and wounded were carried to the Island of Rhode Island, where they were cared for by the people of Portsmouth and Newport.

The propriety of a winter campaign on the part of the Colonists might be questioned ; but, by delay, opportunity would have been given to the Indians to make greater preparations, and this was to be considered. Cotton Mather, who saw the Providence of God in every undertaking, says: “Had the assault been deferred one day longer, there fell such a storm of snow that for divers weeks it must have been impracticable, and at the end of those weeks there came so violent and unusual a thaw as to have made the way to the fort impassable. “Just now,” he says, “was the time for the work, and the work was accomplished.”

It is evident from this description that the colonists were so determined to extinguish the Indian threat that they were willing to suffer the consequences of losing both food and shelter, sorely needed, after the battled ended.

If you have colonial families in Southern New England in the 1670s, it is likely that you have one or more ancestors who took part in one or more conflicts in King Philip’s War.

Resources about King Philip’s War:

Soldiers in King Philip’s War

The Great Swamp Fight 19th of December 1675,

Great Swamp Fight, Wikipedia

Great Swamp Fight, Britannica

King Philip’s War – Wikipedia

King Philip’s War in New England – The History Place

The History of King Philip’s War on The History of Massachusetts Blog