A Legacy- Paying it Forward
We will carry Larry Bennett’s legacy forward by transcribing his Sutton Genealogy Collection. He freely gave his passion for research, allowing those who seek their Sutton Roots, a strong starting point.
My transcriptions starts with his Stearns and Nelson families genealogies. They are my Sutton roots through the marriage of my grandparents, Nathan Augustus Stearns and Lillian May Nelson 31 Dec 1920.
Sutton Genealogy, A Collection by Larry Bennett, Volume I Abbott – Frew, Volume II Gage – Nye, III O’Connell – Yongman, Sutton Historical Society, April 2001
+ note attached
# Sutton record
ID# and RN# are both used as Sutton Genealogy Collection Identification/Record numbers of the person
Larry Bennett was a remarkable historian and exceptional researcher. He strived for accuracy and left not stone unturned in his quest for historical facts. As chairman of the Sutton Historical Society’s Archives Committee, Larry diligently worked at cataloging the society’s collections stored in the “Blue House.” Through his efforts many new items were added to the collection. Larry’s guidance and expertise will be missed by the Sutton Historical Society.
Larry’s passion was genealogy. He spent countless hours updating the genealogies in the History of Sutton, N.H. by Augusta H. Worthen. He followed family lines from 1890, the year the history was published, to the present. In addition, he researched many new families who moved to Sutton after 1890. Larry freely shared his research with anyone who wanted to discover their ancestors. His genealogical research is his legacy. The Sutton Historical Society is proud to honor Larry, for it will help those who seek to find their Sutton roots and that is what Larry would want. his work to do.
The collection has been published as Larry had organized it; family sheets arranged in alphabetically in three volumes, Abbott – Frew, Gage – Nye and O’Connell – Youngman, and volumes for the Chadwick family and the Palmer family. There are 1577 family sheets in the collection.
Sutton Historical Society
For several years it was our great privilege and pleasure to work with Larry on Monday mornings at Muster Field Farm on the Harvey family papers. Larry was a reliable authority on questions of Sutton genealogies, who lived where, connections between families, and a host of other details he had spent countless hours tracking down from any source that presented itself. We were quite pleased to learn that the Sutton Historical Society had decided to publish Larry’s genealogical work and dedicate it to his memory.
Larry took up Sutton’s genealogical records right where Erastus Wadleigh had left off at the time of his death in 1881. When Augusta Worthen in her 1890 History of Sutton acknowledged Wadleigh’s considerable role in gathering and recording Sutton history, especially the genealogies of the townspeople, she wrote words of praise for him that are strikingly appropriate to Larry:
“The History of Sutton was commenced, but the work had not proceeded far before the discovery was made that it is one thing to put on record facts already within reach, and quite another to find the right answers to all questions of genealogy and descent to which these facts give rise.”
“And here, perhaps, is a good a place as any other to state, for the benefit of all those who are ambitious of entering the field of antiquarian and genealogical research, that no one ever yet entered that field with and adequate conception of the amount of labor involved in the attempt to operate there…. For genealogical research, apparently so dry, once entered upon, becomes the most fascinating of all the literary work, becomes magnetic even in its attractiveness to its pursuer. Very unwillingly, and only under pressure of strong necessity, will the genealogist suspend, even temporarily, his work while searching for “missing links” in some family chain. The clue he may chance to hold in his hand is so slight, so elusive, has been so difficult to obtain, and yet is of such value if it leads to the result he is working for, with the conviction that, if he lets it slip, it is lost forever, and no future genealogist will be able to reach it., and yet will blunder for lack of it, – all this makes him cling to it with a miser-like tenacity till he finds the desired link and has got it fairly riveted in its proper place. Not only does the genealogist feel compelled to do his work, but he must do it right. An assertion based, for lack of proof, upon supposition, or even upon probability, may prove to be a misstatement, which will fatally bewilder and mislead the future historian. For history is forever going on, and the record is by no means completed when the writer of our days lays aside his pen forever.
“Mr. Wadleigh, of course, realized that in succeeding years some other would take up the work where he dropped it, and would make this his life work, the foundation on which to build his own. It was this sense of double responsibility to the past which, to his ear, clamored for remembrance, for recognition, and which was to sit in judgment upon his work, united with a natural honesty and conscientiousness, which, if a man possess it, enters as closely into his literary work as into his business dealings, – it was all this which urged him to use the strictest accuracy of statement rather than fullness of detail. Throughout his entire work there is no possibility of misconception through diffuseness and carelessness.”
Larry was indeed the “some other” who took up the work where Erastus Wadleigh left off. Now Larry, too, has set aside his pen forever, but in his passing he left behind an enduring legacy for the town of Sutton. From many sources he collected fragments of information about townspeople from years gone by and made connections between the fragments. Many a scattered historic detail is now “fairly riveted in its proper place” because of Larry and the work he loved to do.
And years hence – you citizens of Sutton a century from now – there will be “some other” to take up the work where Larry left off. Honor his memory, and be true to his standards for historical integrity.
We were proud to call him our friend.
Carlton Bradford and Jack Noon