Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Connecting My Cousins

For those cousins joining me in the discovery of our branches already in progress, welcome!  I thought I should probably do some explanation on how you all fit on our tree.  Here's the story I've discovered in a nutshell:


We all have in common one ancestor, Hannah Jane Clayton.  Hannah was born in Vermont on June 20th, 1835 to William Clayton and Roseanna Ayer.  Her father William is our immigrant ancestor on this line having been born in Yorkshire, England in 1799.  Her mother, Roseanna Ayer comes from a larger Ayer clan who was quite prominent in Haverhill, MA from the 1600's.  There is still a small village in Haverhill called "Ayer's Village" named after this branch of our family.


Hannah J Clayton married Elbridge Gerry Towle on 26 November, 1853 in Plaistow, New Hampshire.  Elbridge Gerry Towle is a direct descendant of the Philip Towle line of New Hampshire and also a distant cousin of the Towle Silversmiths.  Together, Elbridge and Hannah  had 4 children: Mary Louise Towle, Rose Ann Towle, Hannah Jane Towle, and Gerry Elbridge Towle. 


Mary Louise Towle (b. 1854) married Arthur Muzzy and had no children.  She was widowed young.  Her line ended with her.  The Towle-Muzzy family lived in Haverhill, MA


Rose Ann Towle (b. 1857) is my great-great grandmother.  She married Fred Pratt and had 9 children.  My great-grandfather is her 2nd born child, Walter Fred Pratt - hence my maiden name.  My cousin, Daniel Birdsall,  is the grandson of her 9th child, Elizabeth Clayton Pratt.  My cousin,  Steve Pratt is the great-grandchild of Walter Pratt and Alice Kellogg, as I am.  Our grandfathers Elbridge Gerry Pratt and Fred Walter Pratt were brothers.  Among my first cousins on this line are Joline Boulay, Melissa Merritt, and Bryan Baker. The Towle-Pratt family also lived in Haverhill, MA


Hannah Jane Towle (b 1859) married Elias P Dole and had 4 children; 2 boys and 2 girls.  William O'Connell is the grandson of  Hannah Jane Towle's daughter, Mary Louise Dole.  I suspect Mary Lousie Dole got her name from her aunt Mary Louise Towle.  The Towle-Dole family lived in Sailsbury, MA


Gerry Elbridge Towle (b. 1862) married Susan Gertrude Pickering  and had 5 children, one of which was Howard Pickering Towle.  Howard's son, Howard Towle is the grandson of Gerry Towle.  His children, Mike Towle and Tamralyn (Towle) Fontanez are the great-grandchildren of Gerry Towle.  The Pickering-Towle family also lived in Haverhill, MA but later moved to California in the 1890's.
Cousins Steve Pratt, Daniel Birdsall, and Laurie Pratt Sisk's
great (x2) grandmother, Rose Ann Towle Pratt




Elbridge Gerry Towle served in the Civil War with the 4th New Hampshire Infantry Co. H.  He died at age 34 onboard a hospital ship from wounds he received at The Battle of the Crater during the siege at Petersburg, VA in August 1864.  Hannah Clayton Towle was left a widow with 4 small children to raise.  She also lost a brother in the Civil War and another one was wounded.


On 5 July 1868, Hannah Clayton (Towle) married a second time to Mable Nickett in Kingston, NH.  Mabel was French-Canadian, born in Canada, and also served in the Civil War with the 25th Massachusetts Infantry, Co E.  He was wounded during the Civil War, sustaining an injury to his face.  Together they had 2 children - William Nickett and Ida Mable Nickett


William Nickett (b. 1869) died at age 11 in 1880 while the family was living in Haverhill, MA.  


Ida Mable Nickett (b. 1874) married Daniel W Blye in 1889 in Kingston, NH.  Together, they had 4 children, one of which is Cora M Blye, the great-grandmother of Mike Evans.   The Nickett-Blye family lived in NY for a time but ended up in Lynn, MA.  Daniel Blye died relatively young and Ida Nickett Blye never remarried.  


Hannah Clayton (Towle) Nickett and Mabel Nickett eventually separated though never divorced.  She continued to live in Kingston, NH while he moved around New England living in the general Exeter/Portsmouth area of NH.  Hannah died on 13 Jan 1908 in Kingston and is buried in Sailsbury, MA.  Mabel Nickett married again to someone named "Mary" and died at the VA hospital in Togus, Maine on 24 Mar 1917.  He is buried in the veteran's cemetery there. 


I think it's pretty cool that some of our family names live on in the present day.   My father's name is Fred Pratt - a name all of our common grandparents, including our grandmother, Hannah Clayton Towle Nickett would instantly recognize.  We also have a cousin named Clayton and Gerry is middle name of our cousin Steve Pratt.  Gerry Towle, named a son Walter - the same name as his nephew/my great-grandfather, Walter Pratt, and he had a daughter named Ida May Towle - reminiscent of his sister, Ida Mabel Nickett, the great (x2) grandmother of Mike Evans.  My great-grandfather Walter Pratt, named his son Elbridge Gerry Pratt.  Considering how intertwined our family was, it's amazing how lost everyone got in such a short amount of time.


I'm fairly sure I got the generations correct with respect to "grandchild," "great" and "great-great" but to tell you the truth, figuring out degrees of cousin is not something I'm good at doing - ask Howard Towle who patiently had to correct me umpteen times that he is the grandson of Gerry Towle and not the great grandson as I tended to think.  It's just odd thinking that while I'm 13 years older than Mike Towle, technically I'm in his baby son's generation.  Weird.


Now if anyone has info to add the our tree or any pictures of your grandparents, great, great-great, or otherwise, I'd love to see them!



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