Thursday, June 21, 2018

Woodstock, Carleton County, New Brunswick, Canada

Elva and Dan, late 1950s

My parents, Elva Crabtree and Daniel Harris, were married in Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada on Dec. 21, 1940. Here is their marriage record:

For a little historical background, my father grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts. My mother's family lived at various times on the Canadian side of the border, and on the American side in Aroostook County, Maine. They surely passed through this customs stations many times. 

From The Collectors. A History of Canadian Customs and Excise, by David McIntosh. .
 Published by NC Press Ltd in association with Revenue Canada, Customs and Excise and the Canadian Government Publishing Centre, 1984.
I believe that my parents met in New Hampshire while working summer jobs. I'm not sure, though. I wish that I had asked them more questions!

I have never been to Woodstock, or to New Brunswick, for that matter. I wanted to see what it looked like in 1940. I wasn't able to find a photo for that date, but did find one from 1900 and one modern bird's eye view. 

Modern view

Here's another modern view, this time of Main Street at sunset.

This is a farm in the countryside outside of Woodstock. 

Finally, I can tell that the people of Woodstock are very fond of their town when I read this:

I apologize for not having a source; I believe this was posted on Facebook

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Signers of the Exeter Combination

This is the story of how an ancestor from my mother's side of the family and one from my father's side of the family were in the same place at the same time: Exeter, NH, 1638.

Signature page from the Exeter Combination (6)

The Exeter Combination was one of the founding documents of the town of Exeter, New Hampshire. Here is a bit of explanation, written by the curator of the Exeter Historical Society:
"Exeter’s population decided in the spring of 1639 to send notice to the British authorities that they intended to govern themselves by combining together. The document created, called the Exeter Combination, pledged loyalty to the King and God and clearly differentiated themselves from Massachusetts, even though they intended to use Massachusetts laws as their model. This document was signed on “Mon. 5th, d. 4th 1639,” which, when decoded into modern terminology, means it was signed on the July 4, 1639 — a rather happy coincidence with our later national holiday." (1)
Edward Chase, Jr. wrote:
"The government thus set up endured for five years. It never had recognized jurisdiction over the whole of the area covered in the Indian Deed [a 30-square mile piece of land originally granted by the native Indians], but it did control the area of the present-day towns of Exeter, Newmarket, Newfields, Brentwood, Epping and Fremont."  (2)

Why am I so interested in this ancient document? Among the 35 freemen of Exeter who signed were two of my ancestors, representing both my mother's side of the family and my father's side. Not only that, but the new 1638 Exeter government controlled the area that included modern-day Fremont, where I served as school librarian for several years. 

I would never have realized that two of my ancestors were in the same place at the same time if it hadn't been for that curious document name--Exeter Combination. It showed up twice in family tree research for my ancestors, and I later realized that these many-times great grandfathers were from both sides of my family tree. Here they are:

From Find a Grave memorial (3)

Elder William Wentworth (1615-1697), my 7th great grandfather*
Born in England, William Wentworth came first to Boston and then to Exeter. He later moved to Wells, Maine and to Dover, New Hampshire, where he was an elder in the Dover Church for 40 years. (3)

A Wentworth family history notes about William:


From Wikipedia: 

"Wentworth is notable for the large number of his descendants who reached great prominence in the American colonies and in the United States: His grandson John Wentworth was the Lieutenant Governor of the Province of New Hampshire at a time when the governor was also the governor of Massachusetts. New Hampshire governors Benning Wentworth and Sir John Wentworth are also descendants, as were Judge John Wentworth and his son John Wentworth Jr., a New Hampshire representative to the Continental Congress Chicago mayor and U.S. Representative John Wentworth was not only a descendant of Elder William, but compiled the extensive genealogy on the Wentworth family, considered one of the best family histories ever written."

From Find a Grave Memorial (3)

Edmund Littlefield (1592-1661). my 10th great grandfather*
Edmund was also born in England, came to Exeter, NH and eventually moved to Wells, Maine, where he died in 1661. An interesting fact: Edmund's daughter, Hannah, married Peter Clayes (1640-1708); after she died in 1680, Peter married Sarah Towne (1639-1703). Peter and Sarah have appeared on this blog in The Persecution of the Towne Family.

[Edmund Littlefield]  "signed the combination 5 (4) 1639. His wife Annis, ae. 38, with 6 children, and servants John Knight, and Hugh Durdal, came in the [ship] Bevis in May, 1638. It may be presumed that he either came at that time, (though not named in the passenger list,) or had come before. He rem. to Wells, Me.; had a grant of land from Thomas Gorges 14 July, 1643." (5) 

For the complete text of the Combination and a list of those who signed it, see The History of the Town of Exeter, New Hampshire. (6)



1. Historically Speaking; A Look at Exeter's Founding Documents, by Barbara Rimkunas for

2. Early Exeter History 1638-1887. Written by Edward Chase Jr. In: Exeter, New Hampshire: 1888-1988, by Nancy Carnegie Merrill.  Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Peter E. Randall, 1988.

3. Find a Grave Memorial for Elder William Wentworth.

4. A Genealogical and Biographical Account of the Descendants of Elder William Wentworth, by John Wentworth. Boston, Massachusetts: S.G. Drake, 1850. Available on

5. Maine Pioneers 1623-60. Provo, Utah:, 1999.

6. The History of the Town of Exeter, New Hampshire, by Charles Henry Bell. Exeter, New Hampshire, 1888. Available online from the Internet Archive at

7. Wikipedia: William Wentworth (Elder).

*How we are related

Elder William Wentworth, 7th great grandfather on my father's side of the family

Relationship between William Wentworth & Clair Marie Harris.

  William Wentworth (1615 - 1697)
  7th great-grandfather

  Benjamin Wentworth (1670 - 1728)
  son of William Wentworth

    Susannah Wentworth (1707 - )
    daughter of Benjamin Wentworth

    Solomon Hartford (1758 - 1832)
    son of Susannah Wentworth

    Mary Jane Hartford (1791 - 1870)
    daughter of Solomon Hartford

    Robert Winslow Ellis (1821 - 1876) My great great grandfather
    son of Mary Jane Hartford

    Oscar J Ellis (1852 - 1907) My great grandfather
    son of Robert Winslow Ellis

    Eva Josephine Ellis (1888 - 1943) My grandmother
    daughter of Oscar J Ellis

    Daniel Lawrence Harris (1907 - 1972) My father
    son of Eva Josephine Ellis

    Clair Marie Harris - Me
    I am the daughter of Daniel Lawrence Harris

Edmund Littlefield, 10th great grandfather on my mother's side of the family

Relationship between Edmund Littlefield & Clair Marie Harris.

Edmund Littlefield (1592 - 1661)
10th great-grandfather

Hannah Anne Littlefield ( - 1680)
daughter of Edmund Littlefield

Sarah Clayes (1666 - 1700)
daughter of Hannah Anne Littlefield

Samuel Cunnabell (1689 - 1746)
son of Sarah Clayes

Preserved (Persund) Cunnabell (1727 - 1793)
son of Samuel Cunnabell

Esther "Hester" Campbell (1751 - 1819)
daughter of Preserved (Persund) Cunnabell

Edward Campbell (1795 - 1851)
son of Esther "Hester" Campbell

Tamberlane Campbell (1813 - 1892)
son of Edward Campbell

Elizabeth Campbell (1851 - )
daughter of Tamberlane Campbell

William Giberson (1856 - ) My great grandfather
son of Elizabeth Campbell

Edith Rae Giberson (1880 - 1946) My grandmother
daughter of William Giberson

Elva Myrtle Crabtree (1914 - 1998) My mother
daughter of Edith Rae Giberson

Clair Marie Harris: Me
I am the daughter of Elva Myrtle Crabtree

Friday, June 15, 2018

John Hartford of Deerfield, New Hampshire

It's funny that I ended up living in New Hampshire after being born in Maine and brought up in California, since it turns out that a good many of my ancestors were early New Hampshirites. I've already written posts on this blog about New Hampshire relatives from my father's side of the family: Abraham Perkins of Hampton, New Hampshire, my 9th great grandfather; and another about his son, also Abraham Perkins, in My 8th Grandfather, "Slayne By Ye Indians".

I recently came across another relative from my father's mother's line who lived even nearer to our adopted town of Candia, New Hampshire. This was John Hartford, my 6th great uncle (see the relationship at the bottom of this post), who was buried in Deerfield, New Hampshire.

But first, I have to tell you that when we were still living in Washington state and wanting to move far from a cranky gun-toting neighbor who shot at dogs, we read the book Safe Places for the 80s and decided on New Hampshire as the place for us. We were captivated by the name of Deerfield Parade, the central part of the town of Deerfield. It sounded like a place we would like, and we ended up not five miles from that very spot. Here is an historical photo. It still looks much the same today.

 Photo from the Deerfield Heritage Commission website,
which contains lots of information about the Parade (1)

Here is what I have been able to find out about my Uncle John Hartford: Born in Dover, New Hampshire in 1724, he was one of the 12 children of Nicholas and Elizabeth Jenkins Hartford.

He married first Bethiah Rollins in 1755, at Newmarket, New Hampshire. He married second Abigail Brackett, and from that union came a son, also called John Hartford, who was born in 1751 and died in 1826. I have yet to find more of John, Sr.'s children, but I'm sure they are out there!

There are many records showing that a John Hartford served in the New Hampshire military during various years, but I believe the most plausible shows a John, perhaps my uncle, serving for a short time in 1757. (2)

John, Sr., died in 1816 at the age of 92 in Deerfield, and was buried in the Sand Hill and Fisk Cemetery just off Middle Road there. In addition to John's grave, there are 11 other Hartfords (perhaps descendants of the same family?) buried in this cemetery. If I had only known when I lived so close by, I could have gone to the cemetery to visit his grave and those of the other Hartfords. For anyone wanting to do so, the directions are listed below in the Sources. (3)

Sand Hill and Fisk Cemetery, Deerfield, New Hampshire
Photo by Stan Garrity (4)

Gravestone for John Hartford
Photo by Stan Garrity (4)

It is interesting to note that John's brother Stephen Hartford (my 5th great grandfather) married a woman called Susannah Wentworth. When I searched around to find more information about her family, I quite accidentally discovered yet another ancestral connection to New Hampshire. This time, ancestors from both my mother's and father's sides of the family were in the same place at the same time, and signed a document to prove it! Stay tuned for the next post...



1. Deerfield Parade information and photo from the Deerfield Heritage Commission:

2. Military History of the State of New Hampshire, from its Settlement in 1623 to the Rebellion in 1861 by Chandler E. Potter, Vol. I.

3. Directions to the Sand Hill and Fisk Cemetery, from Find a Grave

Sand Hill Fisk Cemetery is off of Middle Rd in Deerfield NH. If you are heading north from Rt. 28 in Allenstown take a right onto Deerfield Rd, this road goes to Bear Brook State Park. Continue on Deerfield Rd you will go by the old town hall and some other cemeteries. The name of the road will change to Middle Road when you get into Deerfield. You will come to a dirt road on the right with an old granite flower pot in front. Take a right here, go to the end of the road and park. Walk up on the road to your left, go to the end and you will see the cemetery.
Thank you to Joanne Wasson for her extensive research to make this information possible
4. Cemetery photos by Stan Garrity come from the Find a Grave Memorial for John Hartford. 

How I am related to John Hartford (1724 - 1816), my 6th great-uncle:

Nicholas Hartford (1680 - 1737)
father of John Hartford

Stephen Hartford (1707 - )
son of Nicholas Hartford

Solomon Hartford (1758 - 1832)
son of Stephen Hartford

Mary Jane Hartford (1791 - 1870)
daughter of Solomon Hartford

Robert Winslow Ellis (1821 - 1876)
son of Mary Jane Hartford

Oscar J Ellis (1852 - 1907)
son of Robert Winslow Ellis

Eva Josephine Ellis (1888 - 1943)
daughter of Oscar J Ellis

Daniel Lawrence Harris (1907 - 1972)
son of Eva Josephine Ellis

Clair Marie Harris
That's me, the daughter of Daniel Lawrence Harris