Sunday, June 19, 2011


One of my fave things about this family history research is finding photos of ancestors I never met. So for Father's Day, I am going to post a pictorial history of my father's surname line of Masterman.

The first of our Mastermans that came to America was Marmaduke, who arrived in Boston from Yorkshire, ENGLAND in 1755. He was a sea captain. By the next year, he was married to Sarah Capen Reed (widow of Samuel) at Trinity Church in Boston. The rector who married them was Rev. Wm. Hooper, father of William Hooper, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Trinity Church, 1828

Marmaduke and Sarah had 2 children, Marmaduke, Jr. born July, 1757, and James born 4 April 1759. There is a letter from a ship owner that mentions Marmaduke Masterman as master of the Snow "Caesar," written in 1759 that reveals the ship's use as a slave ship, including a listing of slaves given to him as his pay. (I'll delve into that in a later post.) A month after that cargo was sold in Barbados, Marmaduke died on board his ship. They must have been close to home, as there is a reference to him being buried in Boston.
Ship known as a "Snow"

His son James never met his father, as he was at sea the entire year of 1759. His son Marmaduke only lived to age 16. Their mother married a third time.

James joined the army at age 16 when the Revolutionary War broke out. He served several tours, including as a sailor. After the War, he continued as a sailor, travelling to Spain, the West Indies and other ports. Once, their ship was wrecked, leaving them castaway for over 2 weeks, with little food or water. When rescued, they were emaciated and feeble.

James married Hannah Dows in 1780, and their first born was my ancestor, James, born 2 Jan 1783. They had 8 children total and all lived into adulthood. In 1803-4, James pulled up stakes to moved to Maine, to an area now known as Weld, and lived out his days there as a farmer, dying in 1842, four years after Hannah.
James Masterman Jr. & Sarah graves

James Jr. married Sarah Newman, his first cousin (their mothers were sisters) and was a farmer in Weld. They had 6 children, the oldest of which was James, Jr. 2nd (don't ask's a mystery to me to use both suffixes!) who is my ancestor. James, Jr. died in Weld in 1865 at 82, 12 years after his wife.

Captain James Masterman Jr. 2nd

James Jr. 2nd also made his living as a farmer in Weld, where he married Mariah McLaughlin in 1836. He served as a Captain in the home guard and was thereafter referred to as Captain Masterman. They had 11 children, 5 of which died fairly young. Both James and Mariah died in 1888 in Weld.

Captain James Masterman Jr. 2nd & Mariah graves

Daniel Chesman Masterman

Their 7th child was Daniel Chesman Masterman, born in 1849 in Weld, where he worked on his father's farm with his older brother Stinson. He married Clara Ellen Buker in 1870 and became a miller. They had 3 sons in Weld, one of which died young, the second was my great-grandfather, Filmore (nicknamed Hunter for his fave past time). By 1887, the family had moved to Framingham,  Massachusetts, where their youngest and only daughter was born.

C. Masterman & Son Delivery Wagon

Chesman owned a market in Framingham, where Filmore also worked. Chesman died in 1924, followed 2 years later by his wife.

Filmore "Hunter" Masterman

Filmore married Jennie McMonagle in 1903 in Framingham and had 2 sons. My grandfather John Vernon was born in 1904 and was just 16 when his mother died of TB. He attended MIT and graduated with honors in 1926.  Filmore died in 1958, so I never met him.

John Vernon Masterman

My grandfather married Hazel Peterson in Feb,1933, and my dad, Frederick Vernon was born in NY in December. My grandfather was an engineer, working on refrigeration systems and the Manhattan Project during his career. He died in 1993, followed by Hazel in 1997. He was a kind, gentle man.

Frederick Vernon Masterman
My Dad

My parents married while in college, and had EIGHT children. It was a zoo.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! You rock!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Homer's Odyssey

One of the first mysteries I solved when I started doing research was finding my ex-husband's great-grandfather, Homer Ingles. It wasn't that I was such a fabulous sleuth, but great timing and even better luck that made it possible. (Not for poor Homer, but for me!)

There wasn't a great deal of info about this family to go on. Homer was the father of a set of twin boys, Percy (my ex's grandfather) and William Ingles, with his wife Annie. I knew that Homer and Annie had died when they both were fairly young, but no one knew the details. They just knew that the twins  were ultimately raised by their maternal grandmother, Mary Jukes, and a slew of maiden aunts in Cumberland, Maryland.

I didn't find squat in any census in Maryland of Homer or Annie.

So my hunt for their story began at the Cumberland church the Jukes attended. There I found burial records for the baby Earl Raymond Ingles, and Mary & daughters, but not Annie or Homer. There were transfers for Mary et. al. from churches in Wheeling, WV and Mt. Savage, MD, and confirmation records for the twins. Not enough to go on.

Counties in Maryland did not start keeping death records until 1898, but on a lark, I requested one for Homer and damn if it wasn't there, in the county where the twins were living! I dashed down to Baltimore to claim my prize.

Now that I had a date (& parents' names), I trotted off to the Pratt Library to find an obituary on their microfilmed newspapers. Voila! The Cumberland paper told the tale:

That gave me his hometown, so I called the Uniontown Library and a fabulous lady looked at the cemetery records for the area and found not just Homer, but his wife Annie buried together in the Hopwood Cemetery! (And a slew of other Ingles.)

The newspaper in the Ingles' hometown ran the following obit too:

Since I found the cemetery and burial record, I had a death year for Annie and searched for her obituary through that great librarian...and found it:

These poor families! First Annie dies 10 days after giving birth to Earl, leaving Homer with 3 small sons. Then baby Earl dies before he reaches 2 months old. Lucky for them all, Annie's mother and sisters step up to care for the twins while Homer goes away to work (one of Annie's brothers worked with him.) He must have been ill with his kidney disease for a while to have died so suddenly from it.

What incredible timing for him to have been in Maryland at his death (and during the first record-keeping year) or I may never have found any of them!

I took a road trip to Cumberland to visit the church and cemetery there, then headed to Mt. Savage for the church that Mary and her family had attended, and finally to visit Homer & Annie in Uniontown, PA. Here are the unfortunate couple's graves.

Annie was apparently moved from her original burial place to Hopwood to be with Homer by his family.

My first taste of victory solving a family mystery was SWEET (and addictive!) Somewhere I have a photo of me kissing Homer's grave LOL