Thursday, March 15, 2012

Womens' History Month Part II

After my earlier post this week, I finally was able to wish Aunt Helen "Happy Birthday" by phone today. Our discussion turned to family and she asked if I had made any head way on finding the parents of her great-grandfather William Henry Colby (1830 NH- 03 Jan 1911 Ivanhoe, IL - one of my most frustrating brickwalls). She spoke of her grandfather William Wallace Colby and of family who would visit and call him Uncle Wallace. The name was always interesting to her and Grampa Colby was known throughout the Newberg community as "W. W." She remembered the names of Angie and Clarence Armstrong and that Angie died around 1950 and was buried at the Friends' Cemetery in Newberg. She wondered if Angie was a Colby family connection. This information sent me off researching that side of the family again after a two year hiatus.

Angie's maiden name was McNay, also the surname of W.W. Colby's second wife. There seem to be family connections in Kansas, Iowa and Illinois. There was a good deal of inter-marrying between the Colby, Hunnewell, Edgerton, McNay, Sawyer, Lord families and I'm afraid that it will take more than a few hours to sort it all out. However, my search today did yield great information.

Some of my genealogist friends remain somewhat sceptical about, but today I really hit pay dirt there. In searching for information on Samuel Bradley Hunnewell (my 3rd great-grandfather - Cecily-Betty-Grace-William Wallace Colby-Fannie Hunnewell Colby - Samuel Bradley Hunnewell), I found the image of a letter Samuel had written to his daughter Charlotte Hunnewell Bradley that had been contributed by another member.
The letter speaks about the challenges of living in a shanty and how hot it is in Illinois but most importantly, it explains where his mother Kezia Spear Hunnewell is living and it gives her name as Kezia Sawyer and that she is living with someone name Herrick on Bay Street in Boston.
The information made it easy to trace her in the census and in the Boston City Directory where she is listed as "Kezia Sawyer, widow, House 8 Bay Street in 1853).
It also helped me find the Revolutionary War Widow's Pension Certificate below at from her second husband Paul Sawyer who had served as a private in the Massachusetts Line.

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