The Chase for Family Finds

Family Snippets


Have you ever chased a balloon to find out where it comes down? I have. I get the same feeling when I chase, yes a play on words for our surname, after my ancestors. When you get that initial peek of the balloon or hear the “whoosh” before you even see it, is like taking that first bite of chocolate as a child. Wonder, excitement, savoring the beauty of the balloon in flight and the memory that last for a lifetime when it lands in your yard.  Wine and Cheese anyone?


I have been savoring the little tidbits of information I have found. I shared them with my family in e-mails called Family Snippets. I thought I’d share some of those Family Snippets with you. Some are funny, some are informative and some just make you think.  The Nelson Family has provided me with most of my little tidbits. Sometime the e-mails have comments, sometimes just the information. Enjoy!


A Grave Matter and Family Love

1712 AGED 77 YEARS

Who liv’d a saintLike harmLes Life
Lov’d ALL good books but no bad strife
Who dy’d a quiet easie death
& to christ resign’d his breath
So Liue my sons my christ o seek
& when you die Like christ be meek


Today’s family snippet is taking us to Georgetown, Mass. It may seem a little morbid, but I don’t want you to think that way. I found it interesting that the oldest gravestone in Union Cemetery is our ancestor. The inscription reads:

Here Lyes Burried

Ye Body of Hannah Nelson

Wife of Joseph Nelson

Who Dyed June 5th 1732 and in

Ye 48th year of her age

Granddaughter of Capt. Samuel

Brocklebank, who was slain by the

Indians at Sudbury, April 21, 1676,

and the first person burried in this place.

The page goes on to explain that the First Church (a Congregational church) in Georgetown was across from her grandfather’s house on the green. I list the fact that her husband had built the house and had spent his last days there. The church remained standing until Harriet Beecher Stowe’s brother, Rev Charles Beecher had it removed when he became resident of the Brocklebank house. It was still standing in 1932.

I find the inter mingling of names interesting; also, that religion play a part in decisions and conflicts through the ages.


“Mee Mee Mee” Is my pitch okay, the sing along with me


While researching the Nelson side of the family I found this song from the 1898 family reunion program. Enjoy.


Tune: “Battle Hymn of the Republic”


There’s something strong and mighty in a good old family name.

And the name of Nelson shineth high upon the scroll of fame.

For nearly every Nelson has pursued a lofty aim.

The Clan goes marching on!


          CHORUS: Glory to grand old family!

Glory to the name of Nelson!

“Every Nelson does his duty”

The Clan goes marching on!


William was the Governor of Old Dominion State.

Thomas signed the document that changed the nation’s fate.

Nelson at Trafalgar didn’t stop to meditate.

The Clan goes marching on!


The Nelsons fought at Yorktown, Gettysburg and Waterloo.

In every righteous cause our cousins fought as heroes do.

They died in eighteen ninety-eight and nineteen eighteen, too.

The Clans goes marching on!


Nelsons hail from England, Scotland and the Emerald Isle.

We love the world’s great movements they have all their fortunes cast.

And when they pledge their honor they are loyal to the last.

The Clan goes marching on!


The Nelson blood is mingled with royal bloods of old.

Each century our numbers have increased a hundred fold.

Of all the world’s great families our family is pure gold.

The Clan goes marching on!


We have our dukes and peasants, common folks and blue-bloods, too;

We greet each other with a smile and “Cousin, Howdy-do!”

This goes with all the Nelsons and it goes with me and you.

The Clan goes marching on!


Nelson sons are loyal-Nelson daughters true and sweet;

More noble sires and mothers you could never hope to meet.

The stories of their lives and deeds with pleasure we repeat.

The Clan goes marching on!


If you claim the blood of Nelson join the chorus of the Clan.

In our records and Reunions, all according to our plan;

The name to highest honors boost it every way you can.

The Clan goes marching on!


Marissa’s like to strut her Stuff; so check this out


(Marissa is five years old. She was told to go out in the snow and pick up her shovel, but not to forget her boots. She didn’t forget her boots, but she chose to go out with the boots, undies and shirt, nothing else. When asked why, she said I did what you told me.  Her Dad learned the importance of giving more detailed instructions next time. When they posted the picture on Facebook, I know what my next e-mail would be about.)


Today’s laugh is I found out that the brother to our ancestor was married to Lady Godiva, yes, of Lady Godiva fame.

So woman keep your clothes on and men remember why she disrobed.

Treat your special someone with respect

And the repeat of the incident won’t unfold.


We go from Strutting our stuff to haunting an island


Yesterday I sent you an e-mail about a ladies ride for a cause. Today I’m sending you the story about an ancestor that likes to haunt. (The Babb family married into the Nelson family)

There is a superstition among the islanders that Philip Babb, or some evil-minded descendant of his, haunts Appledore. No timid soul can be induced to walk alone after dark over a certain shingly beach on the island, called Babb Cove, at the top of that cove bearing Babb’s name–for it is there that his uneasy spirit is often seen.

He was a butcher on Hog Island, now known as Appledore, of the Isle of Shoals. His name was Philip Babb the father of our great-great-great grandmother, Elinor May Babb Nelson. He was a fisherman and butcher by trade, some say he was even into piracy, but there is no proof. Do you think he haunts to search for his buried treasure?

The early Babb family is buried in the valley of Appledore where houses stand, and where once a bowling alley stood and all of the balls rolled over the bones of all of the Babbs. Perhaps that is why Philip haunts. Since the last equinoctial gale blew the building down, quiet has returned to their earth, and perhaps he may now rest more peacefully without the din of the play arena.

He is supposed to have been so desperately wicked when alive that there is no rest for him in his grave. His dress is a coarse, striped butcher’s frock, with a leather belt, to which is attached a sheath containing a ghostly knife, sharp and glittering. It is his delight to brandish it in the face of terrified humanity.

I leave the haunting idea of why he walks the Isles at night to your general imagination.

What a family we have; Lady Godiva, a ghost, Indian scalper, war heroes and those who chose to leave their homeland to search for a place to bring their dreams to life. So if it be that my loved ones are villains or heroes they are honored for who they are and how they shaped our nation and our ancestors.

Happy ghost hunting.

“The Isles of Shoals in Lore and Legend” by Lyman V. Rutledge


Signers of the Declaration of Independence or Not


I noticed that two of the signers of the Declaration were Thomas Nelson and Samuel Chase. Both are names from our ancestry line, so I decided to do some research. Well, don’t get your hopes up. They are not our direct line.

The Tomas Chase is from the emigrant from Scotland in 1690 to Virginia. Samuel Chase is from Maryland. Although the Maryland Chase did have ties to New England it wasn’t from our line.

Both men had strong ties to abolishing the Stamp Act, which stated that all taxes would be paid from stamped paper. They barred the “stamped paper from being taken off the ships and forced merchants who were using stamped paper out of business. What a unique way to circumvent paying taxes to the “motherland”



The Salem Witch Trails Brothers Thomas and Philip Nelson involved


There is much to read on the website. It is well worth the time. It will make you think about the politics of the time. As much as things change, they remain the same. Scapegoats are in use everywhere, even through time.

…. The Wicoms were not the only prominent family of Rowley involved with the accusations against Margaret Scott. The Nelson family also played an active role in the trial. Thomas and Phillip Nelson were brothers; Sarah was Philip’s wife…

The depositions offered against Margaret Scott highlight the rumors about her reputation and the common beliefs that circulated about witches in early New England. Of the six depositions presented before the Salem Court on September 15th, four described the spectral image of Margaret Scott tormenting others. Some depositions given showed that many people suspected Scott was a witch long before 1692. The spectral evidence came from the depositions of young women who may have been influenced by their paranoia surrounding Indian hostilities, social pressures, and religious beliefs…

…Two Rowley residents, Phillip and Sarah Nelson, testified about conversations with Robert Shilleto. The Nelsons deposed that Shilleto believed himself a victim of Margaret Scott’s afflictions and “we have often heard him complaining of Margaret Scott for hurting of him, and often said that she was a witch.” The Nelsons also described how his affliction lasted for two or three years before Shilleto passed away in 1687 showing that Scott was suspected of being a witch long before the Salem Witch Hunt occurred.24

More evidence centering on maleficium came from Thomas Nelson, whose statement was also influenced by refusal guilt syndrome. Nelson testified that when Margaret Scott was “Earnest she was for me to bring her wood” and he refused to deliver it immediately one of his cows acted in a strange way and another died.28 Nelson’s deposition not only describes many classic characteristics of maleficium, but also includes information about his loss of cattle which was a symbol of status, common in many witchcraft accusations in New England. In attacking his livestock Thomas Nelson believed that Margaret Scott was a threat to his position among the other men in the town.29 In his deposition, Nelson testifies that after the death of his cows he “had hard thoughts of this woman.”30…

…The court case from 1679 is found in Dow, Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County Volume VII 169-70; Daniel Wicom is listed as deputy marshal in a court case found in Dow, Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Volume IX (Essex Institute, 1975) 578. Biographical information on the Nelson Family from Blodgette and Jewett, Early Settlers of Rowley, Massachusetts 243-4; Philip Nelson is listed as a town recorder in Dow, Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County. Volume III (Essex Institute, 1921) 267. The 1679 case in which Daniel Wicom sued Samuel Phillips for “reflecting and reproaching authority” can be found in Dow, Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Volume VII: 184-6; The 1680 court case in which Wicom and Nelson disagree with John Person Jr. over land divisions in the town can be found in Dow, Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Volume VII: 352. Information on Robert Shillito is provided by Bodgette and Jewett, Early Settlers of Rowley, Massachusetts, 343; Thomas Nelson is listed as “one of ye Grand Inquest” proving he is a member of the jury in Gage, The History of Rowley, 174. This deposition, along with the others from Margaret Scott’s examination, comes from a reliable account of the proceedings by Thomas Gage, The History of Rowley (Boston, 1840) 175…

Harvard Graduate


Notes for Capt. Philip NELSON
r152 1654 graduate of Harvard.
Philip Nelson, son of Thomas and Dorothy Stapleton, was Justice of the Peace and a large landowner (said to have been 3,000 acres).
“His coffin says he died August 20, 1691, and tells a sad story about his delusion as to the power of working miracles.”

Apparently this gravestone comment relates to the following event described by John Langdon Sibley in “Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, Vol. I, 1642-1658:”

“According to Gage, Nelson was also ‘the occasion of other difficulties in the church by pretending to cure a deaf and dumb boy in the imitation of our Saviour, by saying Epphatha. The ministers of the neighbouring churches were called together, and the boy was brought before them, to see whether he could speak or not. He was interrogated, but ‘there he stood,’ says the church records, ‘like a deaf and dumb boy as he was.”



Sometimes the link is all that matters.

If you like to read about history and royal lines here are a few great reads.


This is a well documented link of royal ancestry for Thomas Nelson.


A great link for the History of Rowley, its early families, and military service

Magna Carter Ancestry


Plantagenet Ancestry A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families

Happy Face

2 thoughts on “The Chase for Family Finds

  1. That is a great tombstone inscription. It includes much more than just a date of death.
    Not sure about that happy face balloon though. I might find it a bit frightening floating over me … but then again I do not like clowns either! 🙂
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)


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