Archive:Antecedents of Imogene Whitney

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Willoughby, Miranda Goodrie, The Antecedents of Imogene Whitney (Riverside, RI, 1977).

Transcribed by Robert L. Ward.


THE ANTECEDENTS OF IMOGENE WHITNEY by Miranda Goodrie Willoughby based on research by Raymond Royce Willoughby edited and published by Hugh Willoughby Riverside, Rhode Island August 1977 [1] ... ANNOTATED TABLE OF THE WHITNEY ANTECEDENTS 1. Imogene (sometimes Emmagene) Whitney (1862-1913) was the mother of Raymond Royce Willoughby and therefore heads the list of his maternal forebears. She was born December 19, 1862, in South Meriden, Connecticut (South Meriden Vital Records*). Her only sister (Ella) was ten years her senior, and her only living brother (Edwin) eight years her senior. Imogene was probably a rather lonely child, for it is known that to amuse herself she devised solitary games with meager materials; an anecdote surviving from this period relates that she liked to make doll teakettles, cups, and so on, from salmon vertebrae. Her early life is not known with any certainty because she did not talk about it, and the natural assumption has always been that her childhood was not a happy one. When Imogene was not quite seven years old, her sister married and left to make her home in New Haven, Connecticut. The brother left home shortly thereafter in order to get work. —————————————————————— *Specific sources of information are given when known—- usually in abbreviated form. 5 When Imogene was nine years old, her mother died. Some time after that the child was sent to Maine, where she lived for several years at the farm of her mother's brother; this farm was situated on the Androscoggin River near Lewiston, some seven miles south of the town itself. The head of the household was a bluff, powerful, happy patriarch; his wife was gentle and quiet, and efficient in fulfilling the many important functions of a farm wife. There were about ten children in the home, together with a hired man or two. The economy was virtually a self- supporting one. The tasks of haying, planting, harvesting, preparing the winter's supply of meat, and cutting the great amounts of wood needed during the long, hard winters—these chores were participated in by all. The baking of the beans in the huge Dutch oven every Saturday evening was like a ritual. Imogene lived in this sort of atmosphere until she was about eighteen, probably first attending rural schools near Lewiston and then spending the last two or three years of her Maine period in Mechanic Falls, going to high school there during the school year and probably returning to the farm during the summers, when everyone was needed there. This period in Imogene's life came to an end when she graduated from high school at about the age of eighteen. She then went to live with her sister's family in New Haven, 6 staying there for most of the next thirteen years. During at least part of this time she was employed as a bookkeeper in the laundry which was operated by her brother-in-law (New Haven Directory). Imogene was comfortable, both materially and physically, during this time of her life. She acquired what she later said were "nice clothes", she managed to save about $1,000, and she was able to assume at least part of the financial responsibility for her father, who was by then becoming increasingly non-productive. When she was about 31 years old, Imogene Whitney met and fell in love with Raymond Howard Willoughby, who was then working in New Haven. A short time later he secured a job as foreman in a New Britain factory and a job as a press-hand for her under his supervision. She moved to New Britain, where the two were married on September 4, 1895 (Whitney Family Bible), when Imogene was 33. Their only child was Raymond Royce Willoughby. Imogene's husband planned and built a home for himself and his small family on Elm Hill in Newington, a suburb of New Britain, starting construction in the spring of 1900. Imogene assisted financially with the purchase of the land, and her husband did the actual work on the building during his hours off from his regular job. They moved into the house in 1906 although it was not yet finished; indeed, it 7 never was completely finished. The family lived in only part of the house. Imogene had to make the most of the unfinished state of the structure. It meant taking out all of the sink water in pails, having no heat except hy means of the kitchen range, and having water in the cellar all winter. In addition, she occasionally helped, by request, in such tasks as emptying buckets of crushed rock from the well. Some of this physical work must have been difficult for a woman who was only 5'2" in height and who weighed only 120 pounds at her peak. At the age of 39 years Imogene experienced the first deep grief of her adulthood. Her sister, to whom she had become deeply attached, died on January 2, 1901, in a New Haven hospital while undergoing surgery for a carcin- oma. This loss left a lasting impression on the surviving sister. Only a few years later Imogene, too, developed a cancer. In 1910 she had her first operation for the removal of a breast. In the spring of 1912 it was discovered that there had been a recurrence, whereupon she had her second operation. In 1913 it was found that an ovarian tumor of many years' standing had become malignant; a third operation was necessary. After that nothing more could be done, for the cancer had invaded the lymphatic system of the body. 8 Imogene had to take to her bed in that summer, and her son carried her downstairs each morning and upstairs each evening until she could no longer tolerate even that much exertion. After months of great pain she died on October 21, 1913, of what the doctor called gastric sarcoma. She was buried two days later in Newington Cemetery. After her death it was found that somehow she had saved and set aside enough money for her own burial expenses. Imogene Whitney Willoughby's son once said while speaking of her that she was a spiritual waif all her life, a village child transplanted to the farm and, her adjustments having been made there, transplanted back to the town and a noisy factory room for ten hours a day. Between the time of her mother's death and that of her own marriage she was parked with one relative after another, never having a home which was really her own. Then when she did fall in love and get married, her husband turned out to be a sadly serious man who was sometimes moody and occasionally even difficult, despite always meaning well and having the best intentions. Indeed, the loneliness of Imogene's childhood seems to have dogged her life even unto its early end. 9 2. Joseph H. Whitney (1832-1897) was born on April 7, 1832 (Whitney Family Bible), probably at Mechanic Falls, Maine. His early life was spent in agricultural pursuits, but there may also have been some contact with small village industry; a daguerreotype ,still extant, shows him at about age 25 in working clothes appropriate to those worn by a blacksmith. He was married in 1851 at 19 to Hannah Mountfort of Lisbon, age 20, whom he had probably met at some social affair in Lewiston, a gathering-place at that time for the young people of the surrounding area. During the first part of their marriage they lived in Mechanic Falls, and their first two children were born there. When he was in his mid-twenties, Joseph followed his next older brother to Connecticut to seek work in a factory in that more highly industrialized part of New England. He settled his young family in South Meriden, and it was there that his last two children were born. When he was 39 years old, his wife died shortly after the birth of their fourth child, a son who himself died at the age of two weeks. The death of the wife broke up the home; it was at this point that Imogene, the only child still living with the father, was sent to Maine to live with relatives of her late mother. Two years after his wife's death Joseph was married on March 8, 1873, to Eliza R. Cornwall, a native of Connecticut; she died ten years later, leaving no children. 10 Joseph then went to New Haven, where his older daughter was living with her hushand, and secured work at a factory there, remaining in the same job for several years. At first he boarded out, but from about the age of 60 he maintained a home, probably with a housekeeper. His son Edwin and possibly his daughter Imogene lived there with him for short periods of time. During his later years Joseph joined a number of lodges and fraternal orders, largely for the insurance and death benefits; however, two of these organizations collapsed, taking a substantial share of his savings and leaving his children to absorb part of the loss. The fact that the children received anything at all upon his death was due to the fact that they kept up the insurance payments after their father had become unable to do so. He was not quite 65 when he died of nephritis in a New Haven hospital on January 4, 1897 (Whitney Bible). Joseph H. Whitney and his first wife Hannah Mountfort had these four children and other near descendants: i. (Sarah) Ella Whitney (1852-1901) was married in 1869, when she was 17, to Charles Lyman Wright at New Haven. She died in a New Haven hospital while undergoing an operation for cancer; she was 49 years old a. Etta M. Wright (1870-1902) married George Rogers in 1896. (i) Muriel Katherine Rogers (c.1907- ) was married in about 1928 and was living in New York. 11 b. Francis H. Wright (1873-?) was a sailor on a tramp steamer plying Long Island Sound in the early 1900's. The family gradually lost track of him. c. Hattie M. Wright (1875-1876) ii. Edwin L. Whitney (1854-?) was married in 1880, but the marriage was a failure and there was a separation. He became something of a wanderer with his whereabouts chronically unknown. iii. Imogene Whitney (1862-1913); cf. supra. iv. Arthur E. Whitney (1871) died a couple of weeks after birth (Meriden Vital Records). 3. Hannah Caswell Mountfort (1831-1871), the daughter of Amos Mountfort and Sarah Field, was born on March 30, 1831, on a small farm a few miles from Lisbon, Maine (Whitney Bible). Her name is the same as that of her father's father's mother. (F.C. Pierce, in a revised edition of The Descendants of John Whitney, gives the name as "Mumford"; this spelling reflects a society in which names were generally spoken and were but rarely committed to the hazards of being written.) At the age of 20 Hannah was married on July 6, 1851, to Joseph H. Whitney. Nothing now remains of her life except a few old photographs, which show a beautiful girl when young. The lack of preserved data about her arises from the fact that her youngest daughter, Imogene, was only 9 years old when her mother died, and said little about her in later life—while Imogene's siblings said nothing, and were not questioned about their mother while opportunity remained. Hannah died on October 7, 1871, three and a half months after the birth of her fourth child (Whitney Bible). 12 4. Stephen Whitney (1799-1885) was born on May 3, 1799, in Gorham, Maine (McLellan, History of Gorham). He married (1st) Abigail Mayberry, in May of 1819; (2nd) Catherine Clouman, according to some records—but the name should probably be "Cloudman", which is a known Gorham family of the period. Stephen's first wife was the mother of all of his children. These seven children and their known near-descendants are given here; the data are from private records, entries in the Whitney Family Bible, Pierce, and especially from Ruth Pinches, an experienced genealogical researcher and a member of this branch. i. Lewis Whitney (1821-?); married Mary ---. They had one child, Etta, who married — Phinney. ii. William Mayberry Whitney (1823-?); married Charlotte Plumb York, the daughter of William and Betsey (Bennett) York. There were two children: a. Lewis Campbell Whitney (1853-1915); married Ellen ("Nelly") Viola Goodwin, the daughter of Charles Francis and Julia (Hitchcock) Goodwin, and resided in Middletown, Connecticut. They had two children: (i) Estella Norwood Whitney (1877-1965); married John Pinches, contractor. Their three children: (a) Ruth Estelle Pinches (1902- ), our informant; a librarian in Springfield, Massachusetts, until her retirement. (b) John Lewis Pinches (1903- ); in 1976 he was living in Old Saybrook, Connecticut; unmarried. (c) Dorothv Louise Pinches (1904- ); in 1976 she and her sister Ruth, now both retired, were living together in New Britain, Connecticut. (ii) William Lewis Whitney (c1879-?); married Idella Kelsey and had two children: (a) Lewis William Whitney (?-1941);unmarried. 13 (b) York Mayberry Whitney (cl916-1968); died at age 52 in Orange, Connecticut. (1) William M. Whitney; unmarried; in 1976 was living in Orange,Connecticut. (2) Married daughter. (3) Married daughter. b. Fred W. Whitney (?-1931); married Rose Scanlon. (i) Mary Whitney (cl885- ); married Rupert Morey in about 1905. (a) Howard Morey. iii. Albion Whitney (1825-?); married Malinda (Matilda?) Mountfort. a. Everett K. Whitney (1849-1919); married Alice M. ---, who (as a widow) was living in Port Huron, Michigan, in 1932. iv. Mary Ann Whitney (1827-1908); married Micah Higgins in 1846; resided in Portland, Maine. a. Samuel Curtis Stanwood (Higgins?) (1848-?); lived in New York. b. Mary Elizabeth Higgins (1850-?); married 1st) Frost; (2nd) Frederick Strout. c. Edwin Roscoe Higgins (1852-?); unmarried. d. Ada Almeida Higgins (1855-?); married Harry Tobey; lived in Melrose, Massachusetts. e. William Weeks Higgins (1857-?); died young. f. Jennie May Higgins (1860-?); married Charles Augustus Strout of Portland, Maine. They had a son, Edward Frost Strout. g. Frederick Augustus Higgins (1863-?); married Emma Louise York of Boston in 1885. v. Charles Crosby Whitney (1829-1901); born in Gray, Maine; married Maria S. Dix, daughter of Samuel Dix of Wethersfield, Connecticut, and of Eliza Bourne of Newington, Connecticut. He resided in South Meriden, Connecticut. Charles and his wife had five children: a. Arthur Whitney (1855-1916); married Theresa Clark, who died in 1888. (i) Charles Arthur Whitney (1888-?) was a stenographer in South Meriden. His mother died four days after his birth. b. Charles H. Whitney (1857-?); married Alice Reilley of Hartford. (i) Earl Kenneth Whitney (1895- ) c. Emma Whitney (1859-1861) d. Ada Whitney (1862-?); married Alexander McRae. e. Alena Eaton Whitney (1867-?); married Edward Marsh Goodwin. vi. Sarah Whitney (1830-?); married Lemuel Goss; resided in Auburn, Maine, in 1910. a. William Goss; died at about age 30; married Etta Wright. b. Abiqail Goss; married George Yeaton; no children. 14 vii. Joseph H. Whitney (1832-1897); for details, see # 2 above. 5. Abiqail Mayberry (1794-1857), the daughter of William Mayberry and Mary Trott, was born in Windham, Maine (McLellan, History of Gorham). Little is known of her life beyond the basic facts of her dates, the names of her parents, and of course her marriage to Stephen Whitney in 1819. She successfully raised seven children; the youngest of these was 25 years old when his mother died of unknown causes at the age of 63. 6. Amos Mountfort (1801-after 1881) was born in Falmouth (now Portland), Maine. The Federal Census for 1850 shows him as living in Lisbon, Maine; age 48; farmer worth $2,000. A record of a land transfer in 1857 (Androscoggin County Land Records) is of interest: Reuben Rand, a son-in-law, exchanged with Amos Mountfort land in Lisbon for land overlooking the Androscoggin River in southern Lewiston. Then in 1867 the record states that Hanson F. Mountfort, the oldest son of Amos (who was then 66 years old), paid his father $2,000 for the southern Lewiston property; later in that same year Amos paid to his son Hanson the sum of $1,500, for which the son agreed to support Amos and his wife Sarah "during their natural lives" and also to support Amos's youngest daughter until she should be married, at which time Hanson was to give her $100. (Data are from 15 the records of Androscoggin County deeds; in the pertinent documents Amos made his mark, witnessed hy the town clerk.) It was to Amos's farm in Lewiston to which Imogene Whitney was sent after her mother's death in 1871; at this time Hanson F. Mountfort owned the farm and was taking care of his parents and his younger sister, in accordance with the provisions made four years earlier. Amos Mountfort was married in about 1826 to Sarah Field. There is an extant photograph of them together; this picture was taken in 1881. According to M. Blanche Dingley (a granddaughter of Amos), he died of "shock" (apoplexy), but we can find no record of the date. Amos and Sarah Mountfort had nine children, several of whom also had large families. ... 7. Sarah Field (cl801-after 1881) was horn in Falmouth, Maine, which is now part of Portland. ... 8. Stephen Whitney (1755-1848), son of Isaac Whitney and Sarah Crosby, was born in Saco, Maine. He married Martha Irish in 1780, probably upon returning home from his service during the Revolutionary War. His war record is preserved in at least two sources. The State Record Commissioner, State House, Providence, Rhode Island, forwarded this version: In June, 1775, he enlisted at Buxton, Maine, and was dis- charged on January 1, 1776. In January, 1776, he enlisted., in the Rhode Island line for one year, and was discharged at Chatham, New York, on January 1, 1777. He took part in 18 the Battle of Princeton. He applied for a pension in Buxton, York County, Massachusetts, now Maine, on April 13, 1818; he was then 62 years old; pension was granted. His war record is given this way in Massachusetts*Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution: Stephen Whitney of Buxton served as a private in Capt. John Lane's company, enlisted May 26, 1775; service to November 1, 1775, 5 months 16 days; company was probably stationed at Cape Ann for the defense of the seacoast; also in same company, service from November 1, 1775, to date of discharge, December 31, 1775, 2 months 5 days (sic) at Gloucester in defense of seacoast; service January 1, 1776; discharged February 15, 1776; service one month 13 days; stationed at Cape Ann for the defense of the seacoast. There is an overlapping of dates here which is difficult to explain, as was noted by Ruth Pinches when she furnished the above records to the editor, it is highly unlikely that two different individuals are involved; there is altogether too much confluence to admit that hypothesis. Perhaps the problem is that government record-keeping in those days was similar to that of today! 9. Martha Irish (1761-1856), daughter of James Irish, Jr., and Mary Gorham Phinney, was born in Gorham, Maine (Pierce, Whitney; McLellan, History of Gorham). (Note that it was this Martha Irish——not Patience Irish, as some records have it—— who married Stephen Whitney. Cf. McLellan, History of Gorham, pages 835 and 584 as against page 829. Patience Irish —————————————— *Maine was, of course, part of Massachusetts until 1820. 19 actually married John Davis.) Stephen Whitney and Martha Irish had nine children——although Pierce in his Whitney gives Stephen as the only child; our list is from Hugh McLellan. i. Mary Whitney (1781-?) ii. Sarah Whitney (1783-?) iii. Ebenezer Whitney (cl785-1801) iv. Patience Whitney (cl798-?) v. William Whitney (cl798-?); twin of Patience. vi. Stephen Whitney (1799-1885); see above, # 4. vii. Ebenezer Whitney (1803-?) viii. Patty Whitney (cl805-?) ix. Miriam Whitney (cl807-?) (Editor's Note: The list of the children of Stephen and Martha appears to be very doubtful on the basis of internal evidence. Why should there be no children born between 1785 and 1798? Usually if a child died in its youth, a second child given the same name would be closer in age—— although the second Ebenezer was indeed the first child born after the death of his namesake. Also, the mother was 46 years of age when her youngest child was born. None of these points is definitive, but their preponderance suggests that perhaps two families are involved here. Further investigation would not be out of order.) 10. William Mayberry (1769-1834) was born at Windham, Maine. He married (1st) Mary Trott, who bore all of his children, and (2nd) her sister Abigail. ... 20 ... 16. Isaac Whitney (1720-1800) also married more than once; many women of that time died young, as our records prove. His first wife was Sarah Crosby, the mother of the ongoing Whitney line of this study. After her death at about age 32, Isaac remarried not once, but twice. By profession he was a housewright, or builder. He moved in 1750 to the town of Saco, where he purchased a lot from William Pepperell; two years later he sold this lot "and house thereon" (Folsom, History of Saco and Biddeford). Records show him in Biddeford in July of 1758 (York deeds), in Gorham about 1760 (McClellan, History of Gorham), and in Buxton about 1770. He died in Freeport, Maine. Among his six children were Stephen Whitney (# 8 of this study) and 22 Isaac Whitney, Jr., who (like his brother) served in the American Revolution and later received a pension for that service. 17. Sarah Crosby (1723/4-1765) was born in York, Maine. She married Isaac Whitney in 1743 (McClellan) and died in Gorham (New England Historical Genealogical Register, 30,60). 18. James Irish, Jr. (1736-1816) was born in Falmouth, Maine, on January 21, 1736, the son of James Irish, who emigrated from England in about 1711, and his wife Elizabeth. .... He was married at age twenty to Mary Gorham Phinney, who was the same age as he. 23 ... 32. Nathaniel Whitney (1680-?) was born in York, Maine, and married there; he died in Gorham (McLellan, History of Gorham). 33. Sarah Ford (?-?) lived in York, Maine (McLellan). 34. (Dr.) Jonathan Crosby (1694-?) was born in Rowley, Massachusetts (Historical Collections of the Essex Institute, v 20-1). He married 1st) Hannah Wicom (or Wycome) in 1718 at Rowley (Rowley vital records) and 2nd) Mary Dill of York, Maine, sister of Enoch Dill (# 54 of this study), in 1729. 35. Hannah Wicom (Wycome) (?-?) was born in Rowley, Mass- achusetts (Rowley vital records; Blodgette and Jewett, 26 Early Settlers of Rowley). ... 27 ... 64. Benjamin Whitney (1643-?) was born at Watertown, Massachusetts. He married 1st) Jane ---,in York, Maine; 2nd) Mary Poor of Marlboro in 1695 (Pierce, Whitney). 65. Jane --- (?-1690) (Pierce). 30 66. John Ford was horn at York, Maine. 67. Joanna Andrews is mentioned as being at Kittery in 1708 (Stackpole, Old Kittery and Her Families). ... 31 ... 128. John Whitney (1589-1673) was the first immigrant to bear the family name. Born in England, he emigrated to Watertown, Massachusetts, in early life. He married twice: 1st) Elinor ---; 2nd) Judith Clement, in 1659. Both wives died before their husband. There were nine children in all, eight boys and one girl. The advance of the younger Whitney sons from the first American home in Watertown north along the Maine coast may be read in Frederick Pierce's Whitney, the standard source on this family. This information may be supplemented by Melville's Ancestry of John Whitney——to a crucial point of which, however, exception is taken by Jacobus in Genealogy as Pastime and Profession. Since the name is a numerous one, these references are usefully supplemented at some points by local histories, of which Hugh McLellan's History of Gorham, 37 Maine,is an important source for the branch here under consideration. The immigrant John Whitney is said to be descended from three of the Magna Carta barons: Behun, Quincey, and Vere (Cf. Worcester Telegram, Sunday, November 17, 1935). John Whitney came from one of the oldest and most distinguished families in the west of England, the Whitneys of Whitne. The ancestral castle survived many centuries of border warfare. 129. Elinor --- died at Watertown, Massachusetts. ... 38 ... 256-273. Unidentified or in England, or both. ... 49 ... WHITNEY HERALDRY ARMS: Azure; a cross chequey, or and sable. Upon a canton, gules; a lion rampant argent. CREST: A bull's head couped sable; horned argent, horns tipped with red. MOTTO: Fortis sed non ferox. Rough translation: "Strong/brave/valiant, but not like a wild animal." 74 A WHITNEY LINE IN ENGLAND The genealogical numbering system used in the main text is a convenient device to show even rather complex relationships—as long as they are in the direct line. We have extracted from the old records one rather interesting branch of the Whitney family in England, and present it here as an illustration of the flexibility of the system as well as for its intrinsic interest for historical reasons. We start with the Whitney who emigrated to America., # 128 of our study: 128. John Whitney (1589-1673) 129. Elinor 256. Thomas Whitney 257. Mary Bray 512. Robert Whitney (Fourth) 513. Elizabeth Gulliis or Dugllm 1024. Robert Whitney (Third) 1025. Sybil Boskerville 2048. Rohert Whitney (Second) 2049. Margaret Wye 4096. James Whitney 4097. Blanche Milburne 8192. Robert Whitney (First) 8193. Lady Constance (as his 2nd wife) (continued, over) 75 16386. James Douchett 16387. Lady Eleanor (i.e.,mother of # 8193) 32774. Thomas Holland 32775. Lady Constance (i.e.,mother of # 16387) 65550. Prince Edmund (i.e.,father of # 32775) 131100. King Edward III 262200. King Edward II 524400. King Edward I 1048800. King Henry III 2097600. King John 4195200. King Henry II 8390400. Princess Matilda 16780800. King Henry I 33561600. William the Conqueror Compiled by your editor——a direct descendant of William the Conqueror (!)——at Riverside, Rhode Island, on June 6, 1977. Hugh Willoughby 76


Copyright © 2020, Robert L. Ward and the Whitney Research Group.

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