Towns that no longer exist

My knowledge of geography of the United States has been enhanced by my continued research. Growing up in Upstate New York, one learns of the Oneida Community as I lived in Oneida County.

The mid-late 1800s saw many families migrate from Upstate New York to the Midwest and Western states. A distant branch of my family moved to Iowa.

While cleaning up my genealogy research, I came upon a town that would not properly fit in the geography references. So I did a quick search for Buxton, Monroe, Iowa. First thing I learned was Buxton no longer exists – okay that explains the geographical misfit (1895-1927). The 2nd thing I learned was that it had been built around coal excavation for the railroads.

And then I learned this – that it was its own form of a Utopian society. Due to the lack of workers (competitors hired away the coal company’s workers), they recruited African Americans from the South to come live in Iowa. The town was 60% African American and 40% white, mostly European immigrants. This community lived peacefully. From Wikipedia: “Even though Buxton had a mix of races and ethnic groups, there was no overt segregation and little racial or ethnic discrimination.” (sourced 4-3-2020).

Learning about new places and why/how people lived is a positive benefit to genealogy research. I love learning more about this country and it’s people. Not all of my family was directly involved, but what they witnessed was amazing.

The family connection here is the Buckingham line. The grandson of Dr. Levi Buckingham, Roscoe Dye Buckingham, moved from Vermont to Iowa. Dr. Levi Buckingham is my 4th Great Grandfather. Roscoe was the son of his youngest of his 14th child. Dr Levi Buckingham’s 1st child is my 3rd Great Grandmother, Mary Selina Buckingham Penfield.

The learning continues!

Barns – Benjamin

May 28 2016 – This week I discovered the identity of my 4th great grandfather, Benjamin Barns. Until this discovery, my only connection with the Barns family was his son, Nathaniel, and his granddaugther – Ida – my 3rd Great Grandfather and 2nd Great Grandmother respectively. The Barns connect with my Bishopp family.

They came from Rhode Island to Oneida County New York – settling in the Clark Mills and Kirkland areas. Benjamin would marry twice – I have not yet determined which wife was Nathaniel’s mom. And 11 of his 13 children would live for at least 3 years. At the time of his death in 1873, only 5 of those children were still alive.

His will shows that he established a sizable wealth. He left his wife, Joanna, a home for her perpetual use. My ancestor, Nathaniel, was his eldest son and executor of his will. Each living child was left between $2,800 and $3,000. The widows of his deceased sons were left $100 or $50 annuity. The children, his grandchildren, of his deceased sons and daughters were each left $3,500 for their education and “other useful expenditures” and if there was any remaining it was theirs at the age of 21 or 23 – child dependent. By the way – I was proud to see this applied to grandsons and GRANDDAUGHTERS equally – education was specifically detailed for each child. My 2nd great grandmother was no mentioned, but her father was living and the executor of the will.

I’m sure I’ll learn more about him as time passes, but for now I am very proud of my 4th Great Grandfather. The value of a good education has been a family trait throughout my tree. It wasn’t always attainable, but it was valued.

My constant reminder of this branch of my family is my pheasant topped teapot set. I think I’ll value it even more now (and possibly polish it!!).

Tompkins – Jacob and Mary Place

My 5x great grandparents met in New Brunswick, Canada. Jacob was born in Westchester, New York and is from the Hudson Valley Tompkins lineage. Jacob’s father is thought to be Jonathan Griffin Tompkins and Magdalena Lewis. They were loyal to the King of England and moved to Canada after the Revolutionary War due to the gift of land in return for their loyalty.

There is much written on this family and I will explore it at a later time. Here is a good reference for the Tompkins family until then: Tompkins Wiki. You can also find good information on my distant Australian cousin Allan Tompkin’s page here:

Jacob moved to Canada where he met and married Mary Place. They married in 1785, both were born abt 1759. They are buried in Northampton Kirk Cemetery in Carleton, New Brunswick.

My ancestor is their last son, Aaron.

Jacob would marry a second time and have a total of 12 children; 10 with Mary and 2 with his second wife; Nancy.

Girvin – Elizabeth

Elizabeth Girvin Mollison is my 2x Great Grandmother. She was the eldest of 5 sisters and one brother, the youngest 2 being twins. She emigrated from Ireland, where she was born on April 4, 1861, to Northampton MA in or around 1880 at the age of 19. She would be the next to last sister to marry – only Martha would marry later in 1903.

By March 31, 1891, she had met and married John Stewart Mollison. Her first child, James Stewart Mollison was born on Feb 3, 1892. Followed by the twins; Harry and Harold on September 20, 1896. Harold would die the next month of pneumonia on October 31, 1896.

Lizzie and John would be the first Mollisons to move onto South Main Street. They lived closer to the Center of Goshen versus where their eldest son Stewart would purchase his land.


  • 1880: She is not found in this census. She might have emigrated after the Census was taken.
  • 1900: Goshen; with husband John, sons Stewart and Harry.
  • 1910: Goshen: with husband John, sons Stewart and Harry, and Eleanor Weber the local school teacher boarding with them.
  • 1920: Goshen: with son Stewart, his wife Emeline, and their 3 children.
  • 1923: Northampton; living by herself.

She was 52 when Stewart married in 1913, and 59 when Harry married Lucie Glass in 1920. She became a grandmother at 54 when Lena Elizabeth Mollison was born. Her last grandchild was born in 1934 and 6 of her 11 grandchildren were born after her death in 1923.

In 1923, she is listed in the Northampton City Directory living by herself at 36 Hinckley Bay State. Researching the directory, the home belonged to Mrs Ludevene Thayer. Also residing there was an Albert White whose occupation was Trucking. In the same directory, Lizzie’s nephew, Charles Wenzel is also employed in Trucking industry. He lives at 121 Hinkley. Add to this that 98 Hinkley is the residence of her sister Minnie’s  brother-in-law John Shoro. It would seem that if Lizzie were looking for a place to live, she had plenty of opportunities to hear about a room at Mrs Thayer’s, if they weren’t already friends.

She would die on May 14, 1923. She is buried in Goshen Cemetery next to John Stewart Mollison and nearby are her sons Stewart and Harold.

Harry, Lizzie, John, and Stewart Mollison
Harry, Lizzie, John, and Stewart Mollison

I wonder how much interaction she had with her sisters. I would think they were close – having moved to a new country and mostly remained in the greater Northampton, MA area. I also wonder about her relationship with her in-laws as her parents were back in Ireland.  Thinking that she died at the relatively young age of 62. She outlived all but one of her sisters, that being Minnie who died in 1949.

She emigrated from Ireland, married, had 3 children, buried a child, died living alone, saw a century change, outlived most of her siblings, might have a radio in her home – but didn’t have a tv; and yet she was able to vote the last 4 years of her life.  But also curious – when did electricity come to her home life? Indoor plumbing? Telephone? Imagine how she cooked each day for her husband and 2 sons.

Girvin – William and Mary Warnock

My maternal 3rd Great Grandparents. He was born in Scotland and died in Keady, Armagh, Northern Ireland. She was born in Ireland and also died in Keady. His occupation was known to be a Linen Buyer.

Her brother, in my notes as Don Warnock, had moved to Northampton. I have yet to find him in any records, there is however a Robert Warnock but I cannot make a direct connection as of yet. Minnie Girvin had a son, Robert Warnock Irwin, who makes me think this was their uncle.

3x GGM Warnock Mary Rebecca
3x GGM Mary Rebecca Warnock Girvin

Together, William and Mary had 6 children, of which the 5 daughters came to the US. The only son, William, stayed in Ireland. The daughters came to Northampton at the encouragement of their uncle.

The five daughters are Elizabeth “Lizzie” Girvin Mollison, Agnes Girvin (Girvan on tombstone) McLaughlin, Rachel Jane Girvin Wenzel, Minnie Girvin Irvin Shoro, Martha Ann Girvin Marshall. They married and lived either in the Northampton or New Bedford areas of Massachusetts.

Agnes married Joseph McLaughlin in 1884. Their daughter Ruth Martha was born in 1888. Sadly, Agnes died in Jan 1890.

Joseph remarried to Mary Courtney in 1892 and they had 2 more children, Mary and William. Due to Ruth’s young age, I would wager that she viewed Mary has her mom.

Joseph died in 1915 and is buried in Montague City, Franklin Cty, MA. As is Agnes in Highland Cemetery. It should be noted her name is listed as Girvan on her tombstone.

Sharing the stone are Joseph’s mother – Sarah Simpson McLaughlin, Joseph, Agnes, their daughter Ruth, noted as wife of Chester V Dadmun, and then Martha A Girvan, wife of Joseph Marshall. Martha is sister to Agnes.


Rachel Jane “Jane” Girvin married George Wenzel in 1890. They had 4 children: Charles, Lena, Maria, and George. Both Jane and George had passed by 1930.

  • Charles and Maria “Mae” married siblings in the Dewey family of Williamsburg.  Charles married Ethel Dewey, and May married Frederick Dewey. 1910 on same page of the census are the Shumways (Anne Belle Mollison) on Ashfield Road, The Allaires (Jimmy’s wife’s family) on Chestnut Street, and Reuben Dewey’s family on Conway Road – 2 of his children married childen of Jane Girvin and George Wenzel. May and Frederick are buried in High Street Cemetery in Haydenville; unknown yet where Charles and Ethel Wenzel are buried.
  • George lived in Northampton for some time and then moved to Florida. He died in Florida but never had any known children.
  • Lena, in 1915, married Joseph A Messier in Amherst MA. They had 3 children. She died in Northampton in 1979. Unknown where she is buried.

Minnie Girvin married 2 times. Her first husband was David Irwin, and they had 2 children – Robert Warnock Irwin and Martha Irwin. David Irwin died from Typhoid Fever when both children were young.

Minnie married for a 2nd time to Edward Shoro the following year. She and Edward would have 2 children – Earle and Clyde. – See Lizzie Girvin for more on their interaction. Minnie died in 1949 and Edward passed in 1938. It is not known where they or David Irwin are buried.

The last sister is Martha Girvin. She also married twice. Her first husband was Joseph S Marshall. They married in 1903 in Northampton and had 2 children: Irene Marshall and Raymond Marshall. It is unknown when Joseph Marshall died or where he is buried. Martha is listed on her sister Agnes’ tombstone.

The genealogy research on the sisters is a work in progress for me. I have had no luck yet with William James Girvin who remained in Ireland.

Chilson – Lewis and Dorcas Damon

Lewis Chilson and Dorcas Damon are my maternal 5x Great Grandparents.

Lewis was born in 1800, passing in 1860. Dorcas was born in 1800 and died in 1871. They both lived their entire lives in Westhampton. They are buried in Westhampton’s Center Cemetery with a simple marker.

Chilson Lewis and Dorcas Damon

Together they would have three children: Orpha, Fordyce, and Rodney. The US Census would show their home was never as simple as just the immediate family.


  • 1830 Westhampton: Lewis and 4 family members (3 male, 2 females total)
  • 1850 Westhampton: Lewis, Dorcas, Rodney, granddaughter Orintha, grandson George (son of Fordyce), and laborer Robert Demand. Lewis’ occupation is Laborer.
  • 1855 Westhampton (Mass State Census): Lewis; occupation Farmer; Dorcas; and granddaughter Orintha
  • 1860 Westhampton: Lewis, Dorcas, Orintha, Fordyce, Lodency Damon (daughter in law), and grandchildren George and Esther.

Both families have significant history in Western Massachusetts. There are 27 Chilsons and 309 Damons posted on Find A Grave in Hampshire County; predominately in Bridge Street, Village Hill, Damon Homeplace, Goshen, Bofat, and Center (Westhampton & Chesterfield) Cemeteries. (researching possible sites to link with more detail on these families).

Lyman – Naomi

The Lyman line is started with my maternal 5x great grandmother, Naomi Lyman. She married Caleb Weller in 1807.

She is the daughter of Abner and Hannah Lyman. I share a birthday with her, May 25th, albeit hers was in 1784 in Northampton, MA.

She gave birth to 5 children, all of whom lived to be adults. Two daughters: Lovice and Martha; three sons: Solomon, Roland, and Henry. It is not yet known when Caleb Weller passed, but he does not appear in a census after 1840 that I have found. All of her children were grown by this time.


  • 1840 Naomi and Martha (based solely on female age) are listed in Northampton. Solomon by himself.
  • 1850: Northampton; living with Roland, his wife Lucy, and Martha (listed as Eliza M).
  • 1855: Mass Census: Northampton; living with Henry and Martha.

She would die in 1859 from dysentery and is buried in the Bridge Street Cemetery with Lovice, Solomon, Roland, and Martha.

Naomi Lyman Weller; Bridge Street Cemetery
  Naomi Lyman Weller; Bridge Street Cemetery

Weller Family - Lovice, Martha, Naomi, and Roland Bridge Street Cemetery
Weller Family – Lovice, Martha, Naomi, and Roland Bridge Street Cemetery

I do not have any pictures of her nor have I completed any substantial research on her parents as of yet.

Chilson – Orpha

My 4x maternal great grandmother was born in Westhampton, MA in 1823 and died in Northampton, MA in 1898. She buried in Bridge Street Cemetery with her family. FindAGrave: Orpha Chilson Russell

Orintha is the eldest child of Lewis Chilson and Dorcas Damon. The Chilson and Damon lines are long in Hampshire County. When I drive into Northampton, the first road I take after exiting I-91 is Damon Road. Makes me smile every time.

Her first child is my 3x great grandmother, Orintha. She and Orintha’s father, Roland Weller, are not known to have married. Orintha was born in 1839.

By 1843, she was living in the Boston area where she met and married John Russell on Sept 25, 1843. Her first child, Maria, with John was born in Feb 1844 in Worcester, MA. They would add Francis, Charles, Mary, George, Willie, Lewis, and Nellie – born from 1844 to 1862. The Civil War would impact them directly as their son, Francis G Russell, died in 1864 in Andersonville Prison. This prison was known for the high death rate of prisoners. More details can be found here: Andersonville National Park Francis has a marker in both Andersonville and Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton, MA.


  • 1850 Northampton, MA (no notation of a village); with husband John Russell and 3 children ( 1-6 in age). John’s occupation is listed as Harness Maker. Listed in same “dwelling” as John’s parents and aunt.
  • 1855 Northampton, MA; with husband John Russell and 4 children (3-12 in age). John’s occupation listed as Traveling Agent. Listed in same “dwelling” as John’s parents.
  • 1860 Northampton, MA with husband John and 7 children aged 4 mos to 15. John’s occupation listed as Farmer.
  • 1860 Agricultural Census: 40 Acres Improved, 10 Acres Unimproved; 1 horse, 3 milk cows, 3 other cattle, 3 swine. Predominantly Indian Corn with some Rye production. He also grew potatoes, had an orchard (exact trees not detailed), produced butter and had some hay.
  • 1865 Northampton, MA with husband John and 7 children aged 2 to 20. John’s occupation listed as Farmer
  • 1870 Northampton, MA with husband John and 5 children, aged 7 to 20. Her mother, Dorcas Chilson, living with them. Her father, Lewis Chilson, died in 1860. John’s occupation listed as Farmer.
  • 1870 Agricultural Census lists John in Northampton with the following assets: 1 horse, 2 milk cows, 2 other cattle, 2 swine.
    He grew Indian Corn, Oats, Potatoes and produced Butter.
  • 1880 Agricultural Census – 5 acres improved land; 2 horses
  • 1880: Leeds Village, Northampton, MA with husband John Russell and 5 children (17-34 in age). Husband’s occupation is Farmer. Son Charles is listed as married (1874), yet no spouse with him.

Before she was 20, Orpha had a child that she left with her parents to be raised and she had married John Russell. By the time she was 30, she had given birth to 4 more children and moved from Boston, to Worcester, and back to Northampton. Her 30s saw the birth of 3 more sons and a daughter, the death of her father, and the marriage of her first born, Orintha. She ended her 30s with the death of Francis 2 months before her 40th birth.

In her 40s, she moved to Leeds, have another son die – this time in a hunting accident where one brother shot another (Charles shot Lewis), and experience the death of her mother.  Her first grandson, John Stewart Mollison, was born when she was just 41. She would have two more grandchildren born before she was 50 (Mary Belle and Annie Mollison). Her 50s were a more positive decade in her life. Her children would marry – Charles, Maria, Mary and George. Her son Willie would pass (cause unknown). She would live to see one more child pass – Charles. Three more granddaughters were born before her death and one grandson after her passing.

She had 9 children, 7 grand children, and 6 great grandchildren born before she passed. As of 2016, her direct descendants number 186.

Her life experiences are so different from mine, yet are similar to those of her generation. When she did marry, it was for the rest of her life. She did not out live her husband, but did outlive 3 sons. 2 daughters did not marry, and only 3 of her 9 children would produce offspring. I hope that she found happiness in the midst of her years.

Weller – Solomon

Solomon Weller is my maternal 6x Great Grandfather and the last presently identified in the Weller lineage. (a google search quickly sidetracked me. Appears to be a line going back to the 1600s but predominantly living in Westfield. More to come. Possible link to my paternal line via the Dewey family.)

He lived in Westfield when it was still part of Hampshire County. Born in 1739 and died in 1795.  in 1771 he married Sarah Clapp and together they had 6 children: Rhoda, Roland, Esther, Sarah, Chester, and Caleb.

He is buried in the Old Burying Ground Cemetery in Westfield.

Weller – Caleb

Caleb Weller, b 1785, is my maternal 5th great grandfather. He married Naomi Lyman in 1807 and together they had 5 children. Lovice, Solomon, Roland, Henry and Martha.

He was the son of Solomon and Sarah Clap Weller and was born in Westfield, Hampshire, MA. He was the youngest of their six children.

Often he is confused with his grandson, Caleb Eugene Weller. This Caleb is the son of his son Solomon. His grandson is buried in Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton, MA.

It is not known when Caleb Weller, b 1785, died nor where he is buried. He was not found in the 1850 US Census with his family, so it is presumed he died before 1850.


  • 1810 Westfield; 2 adults, 2 children – Caleb, Naomi, Lovice, and Solomon
  • 1820 Northampton; 2 adults, 4 children
  • 1830 Unknown; family not found either. During this time only male head of household was listed on the census and then the ages of all other residents.
  • 1840 Unknown; Naomi and Martha (based solely on female age) are listed in Northampton. Solomon is listed by himself.

Occupation: Nothing is known of his occupation as it was not listed in the US Census at that time. The marriage records do not list occupations.  No pictures are available of him at present, and little has turned up in my research so far.