French In Name Only

A Genealogical Blog about the French and Grace Families

Month: July 2016

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1924 Wedding – Gladys May Spencer

IMG_3422On the afternoon of November 15, 1924, my grandparents, Gladys May Spencer (1898-1984) and George Bradley French (1898- 1983) were married at the Blue Hills Baptist Church in Hartford, Connecticut.  Recently, I obtained their marriage certificate and a wedding program containing signatures of those on attendance.  Those signing the guest book included my great grandmothers Minnie Fowler Spencer + Mary McEachern French!  In addition, there was also a small 1923 calendar, where Gladys noted, item-by-item, the costs of her wedding dress, her bridesmaids dresses and other wedding expenses.

Gladys and Walter were divorced prior to 1940.  They had one son together, John Spencer French, born 1931.


Snippet from Gladys’ Wedding Planner

White Dress – Materials $15.80/Shoes $7.75/Garters $1.25

Velvet Dress (dressmaker) – $29.77/Shoes $5.90

Brides Maid Dress – Materials $15.94/ Thread .24c/ Ribbon $2.34

Wedding Expenses – Wedding invitations & announcement $16.00/Postage $3.00/Engraving ring $1.50

$1 in 1924 would calculate to approximately $13.96 in 2016 dollars.

For example, her wedding shoes would cost $108.22 today!


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© David R. French and French in Name Only, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David French and French in Name Only with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lord, How They Died

In researching Robert Lord, my 9th great-grandfather who resided in Ipswich, Massachusetts, I came across an account regarding the death of his son Joseph (1638-1677).  The account read, “upon the death of Joseph, son of Robert Lord Sr., of Ipswich, who was killed in the woods about two miles and a half from Ipswich meeting house, that he with others was felling a tree and a limb, as it fell, hit another tree breaking it and it fell upon said Lord killing him.” Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts (p.397)

A remarkable thing about researching New England history is the depth and extent that they recorded their lives and in this case, deaths. The History of Ipswich, Essex, and Hamilton (p. 202-4) records some rather notable deaths:

  • Feb 21st 1787 – Francis a child of William Cogswell of Chebacco (Essex, MA) died by falling into a kettle of boiling chocolate.
  • Oct 16th 1727 – We are informed from Ipswich that on Wednesday night last a young woman pf that place being more merry than wise dressed herself in men’s apparel intending a frolic at a place some distance off but as she was riding through a river or pond her horse in all likelihood threw her into the water where she was taken up the next day drowne.
  • September 1771 – At the Hamlet, a child of Mr Bolles died by drinking scalding water from a tea pot.
  • Jan 5th 1814 – Betsey Telock AE 49 is burnt to death. It has been commonly reported that she came to her end by spontaneous combustion from the inordinate use of ardent spirits. But it is the opinion of the gentleman who first discovered her body soon after the flames in her room were extinguished that she caught her bed clothes on fire with a candle and thus lost her life.

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The History of Ipswich, Essex, and Hamilton also mentioned the Dark Day, a day many New Englanders believed carried prophetic meaning.  The true cause is believed to have been a massive forest fire combined with a thick cloud cover and fog.

May 19th 1780  – Darkness came on like that of an eclipse. By 9 o clock a.m. persons could not see to weave. Candles were lighted to dine by.  As the day began prematurely to put on the appearance of twilight cattle lowed and fowls went to roost. The darkness of the succeeding evening was almost palpable. Many feared and trembled lest the end of all things had come. They alone are truly wise who seek the Lord when the bow of his mercy is over them, as well as, when they hear his thunders and behold his lightnings. (p.202)

General George Washington, who was encamped with his Continental Army in nearby New Jersey, commented on the strange weather in a May 18 diary entry. “Heavy and uncommon kind of clouds,” he wrote, “dark and at the same time a bright and reddish kind of light intermixed with them…” (Remembering New England’s Dark Day)

Additional Stories about the Dark Day:

On the dark day, May 19th, 1780. Library of Congress

The Dark Day – BBC Story

© David R. French and French in Name Only, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David French and French in Name Only with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lord, How They Lived

Robert Lord Jr., my 9th great-grandfather, was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, England in 1603. Robert arrived in Massachusetts in 1634/5 with his wife Mary Waite and four children. He took the freeman’s oath (example below) at Boston in 1636. Robert lived for 80 years died on August 21, 1683 in Ipswich.

My family relation continues through their daughter Abigail who was born in 1646 and died June 04, 1729. Abigail married Jacob Foster on February 26, 1665/66 in Ipswich. Jacob’s 4th g-granddaughter, Laura Maria Foster, married Horace French.

In September 1636, Robert was appointed Town Clerk and Clerk of the Court of Ipswich and continued to hold that position until his death. His duties included what would now be considered Clerk of Probate and Register of Deeds. As Marshal, he is said to have served more than twenty years in the Indian wars and became so inured to camp life and exposure that he could never afterwards sleep upon a feather bed. He is said to have been below the medium stature, but of powerful mold and one of the most athletic, strong, and fearless men in the Colonial service.

In 1660, Henry KingsbuScreen Shot 2016-07-06 at 8.55.22 PMry sold his home and land on High Street to Robert Lord for “two oxen in hand — 5 pounds to be paid Robert Paine and 40s to Edmund Bridges” (to perhaps settle debts?).  The Henry Kingsbury – Robert Lord House, 52 High Street still stands and was featured in Stories from Ipswich, a fine blog about the history of Ipswich.

Background: Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation, Vol 4


FREEMAN’S NEW OATH (Post 1636)

Being by God’s providence, an Inhabitant, and Freeman, within the Jurisdiction of this Commonwealth; do freely acknowledge my self to be subject to the Government thereof: And do therefore do here swear by the great and dreadful Name of the Ever-living God, that I will be true and faithfull to the same, and will accordingly yield assistance & support thereunto, with my person and estate, as in equity I am bound; and will also truly endeavor to maintain and preserve all the liberties and priveliges thereof, submitting my self to the wholesome Lawes & Orders made and established by the same. And further, that I will not plot or practice any evill against it, or consent to any that shall so do; but will timely discover and reveal the same to lawful Authority now here es- tablished, for the speedy prevention thereof. Moreover, I doe solemnly bind my self in the sight of God, that when I shall be called to give my voyce touching any such matter to this State, in which Freemen are to deal, I will give my vote and suffrage as I shall judge in mine own conscience may best conduce and tend to the public weal of the body. So help me God in the Lord Jesus Christ.

© David R. French and French in Name Only, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David French and French in Name Only with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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