A family tale and the FAGs

This morning I received a note from a member of the FAG (Find a Grave) team:

I’ve been going thru my husband’s tree all morning trying to find deaths and burials for all of the Nichols clan and have decided that there are many probably buried in Sand Hill Cemetery in Dummer, and a few more I think I will find in Riverside Cemetery in West Milan. I haven’t gotten to go to Sand Hill yet to take photos. […] the Sand Hill Cemetery will be my next project as time allows.

Louisa Jackson Nichols grave marker.

Louisa Jackson Nichols grave marker.

Three of your Nichols people married people in my husband’s Jackson line. Lois was one… [after her husband’s death], she returned home [from Wisconsin] and was buried in her family’s plot in Percy Cemetery in Stark. (I do want to stop back there on a less sunny day and get a better pic of her headstone). That was the first cemetery we did completely, and since it was donated to the town by one of my husband’s Potter family it was a special place to start doing this.

More of the Nichols people died in Stark, but if they were buried in Stark they don’t have headstones because I have photographed all the graves in three of the cemeteries there. I still have more searching to do in Stark’s Emerson cemetery to make sure they aren’t there… but I believe they would have been buried in Sand Hill in Dummer which is right next door.

I will let you know if I […] find any of their graves.


In the 1970s, I poked around this New Hampshire area in a search for family grave sites.  I knew some of the clan was buried here because Great Aunt Ruth had worked with a local librarian, who found written records concerning the family.

Ms. J. solved one problem, as she indicated my third great-grandmother Fannie and her husband Jonathan had died in the years before the Civil War.

Because both were in their 40s when they died, I suspect disease killed them.  At that time, death certificates often read, “lung fever.” Or rheumatic fever as in the case of Great Grand Uncle George.

The end of the eighteenth century and entire nineteenth century were filled with danger for ordinary Americans.  Both Jonathan and Fannie had grandfathers in the Maine Militia during the American Revolution, one of them traveling as far as Valley Forge with Washington.

Captain Lorenzo P. Adley

Captain Lorenzo P. Adley

Evangelical Christians and devoutly religious, these nineteenth century New Englanders were as opposed to slavery as they had been to the U.S. invasion of Mexico.*

Fannie’s six sons fought for the Union during the Civil War.  Daughter-in-law Ellen’s brother Lorenzo, wounded several times, went back into battle four times, rising from the rank of private to Captain.  On his last leg of service during the Civil War, he led a USCT (colored troops) as its commanding officer.  He survived the Civil War and returned to his settlement to marry a Scots-Irish-Canadian girl and serve in several political offices.

 * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican–American_War

After the war, many family members left New England to work with the Chicago and Northwestern RR in Wisconsin.


Wisconsin was settled first by the French, then New Englanders. Historian Richard White describes this settlement in The Middle Ground. White argues these white people found a way to peacefully co-exist with the American Indian population.

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family was among the early settlers in Wisconsin, and her first book, Little House in the Big Woods describes her life as a girl during this time.

Like many American girls, I was given this book to read when I was about eight years old.

My grandmother gave my Dad James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans to read when he was a boy.

This is how people share their family history.

5 thoughts on “A family tale and the FAGs

  1. So interesting to find all this history of the country in relation to the family history; makes it so much more relevant and fascinating than just a boring ‘family tree’ chart. I have the family trees but this gives me some interesting ideas for fleshing it out. (So much to do, so little time …).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The photo of great grand-Uncle Lorenzo (great-grandmother Ellen’s brother) was taken after he had been wounded several times and recently been promoted to Captain. (Note bars on his shoulders). Undoubtedly he was still very enthusiastic about his efforts, because he returned to the battle. Probably hearing the Battle Hymn of the Republic in his head.


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