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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Elusive Ancestor Update: Daniel Noyes Cookson

     In my pursuit of Daniel Noyes Cookson I have made some discoveries recently so I thought I would report on them here.

     On Ancestry,  I found Margaret Cookson Freeman's will. She was the mother of Margaret Freeman who married John Cookson in 1767. This marriage is recorded in the Boston Town records. It has been supposed that this John and Margaret are the parents of Daniel Noyes Cookson. In New England Families Genealogical and Memorial by William Richard Cutter the statement is made that Daniel is either the child of John Cookson, son of John Cookson, who married Mary Baker or John Cookson, son of Obadiah Cookson, who married Margaret Freeman. For whatever reason I had always thought it was most likely the second John Cookson. And every tree on Ancestry that lists parents for him shows it this way. (But perhaps they copied mine!)

     Margaret Cookson Freeman died in 1776, her daughter, Margaret Freeman Cookson (stay with me here!) had died before her in 1772. She leaves her son-in-law, John Cookson,  "the Income use and Improvement" of her farm in Watertown and all the farm equipment and stock but not her wearing apparel or her gold and silver and only half of the furniture. She also leaves him farmland in Waltham. But after John's death she says that this is all to go to her brother, John Cookson (the same John Cookson mentioned by Cutter as a possible father for Daniel.) She leaves the rest of her estate to her brother, John, a nephew, and a niece, a woman in Boston and a donation to the Church. She specifically states that everything left to John is to him and his heirs. Reading this it doesn't sound like she has any grandchildren as she leaves her son-in-law the farm only for his life but in the case of her brother, she specifically mentions his heirs.The other possibility is that any grandchild had so alienated her that she didn't even acknowledge their existence in her will.  My conclusion is that John and Margaret had no children.

     John Cookson, son of John Cookson, is recorded as living in Pearsontown (later Standish), Cumberland County in what is now Maine. This increases the likelihood that he is Daniel's father. In the data I have of him only three children are listed. Given the size of families at the time this is likely incomplete. Also I found mention of a second marriage so there may be children from that marriage as well. This will need to be researched.

     Meanwhile, I decided to try to find the original marriage record for Daniel Noyes and Lucy Gifford. I had found this marriage in an index with the Maine Historical Society and more recently at Family Search. It is dated 1801 and was at Whitefield, Maine. It is intriguing because our Daniel did marry a Lucy Gifford. This record omits his last name. Also the date seems too early as their first (known) child was born in 1811. I thought perhaps the transcriber had switched the numbers on the date and not seen the last name due to an ink blot or some such. I found that the town records for Whitefield could be viewed on Family Search. I did that and found the marriage record. Unfortunately it is quite clearly written, no "Cookson" in sight and the date is in line with the other dates around it. It did give me the place they were living which is "Sheepscot Great Pond", a place that is now Palermo, Maine. This is on the Eastern edge of Waldo County and near Unity, Belmont and the other towns where some connection has been found to Daniel and family. There are two Daniel Noyeses who lived in the area in the early 1800s but neither had a wife named Lucy.

     Family Search doesn't have early records for Palermo but there is a book written about the town that is online in its entirety at Archives.com. (A History of the Early Settlement of Palermo, Maine  by Allen Goodwin.) I read it and while he lists many of the early settlers no one by the name of Cookson, Noyes or Gifford is included.  At one point (page 18) he does say, "The first settlers of this Great Pond settlement took up their lands without purchase or leave of the proprietors and held the same by possession." This is very similar to Belmont. I am getting the idea that Daniel had a pattern of going to a wilderness area and settling without purchasing land and leaving when it became more organized and someone required payment. Another interesting point in the book on the same page is that Robert H. Gardiner was a large owner of land there and one of the proprietors. Daniel named his second son Gardiner. Anyway, this could account for the difficulty I am having in finding any deeds for Daniel.

     A couple of other interesting tidbits have come up. On Genealogy Bank I found a mention in a newspaper of Gardiner Cookson as a bankrupt living in Linneus.  This is the first and only mention I've found of Gardiner being in Linneus. It is from 1842 which is the time the four children all seem to have been in Linneus. On Family Search I found that I could search the Court records for Aroostook County. In the Index I found Daniel Cookson(referring to the son, I believe) as a Plaintiff with Lucy Corliss TR as the defendant.  I googled "TR" as a court term and found it means trust. So I believe he was suing her trust or probate attorney.  Unfortunately when I looked it up it said that neither the plaintiff or the defendant had shown up! So I guess they settled it out of court. It should mean that there are probate papers somewhere but I haven't found them yet. It also tells us that she died before September 1858,

     Thus we see quite a bit of time and effort has produced only small results but we do have more clues than we did. I still need to read the Linneus Town papers which I have to order from Salt Lake City. You never know what I may find there or what may show up somewhere else entirely!

1 comment:

  1. How confusing! It's like following tangled threads with the intermarriages of the same families and frequent use of the same first names. (Margaret Cookson Freeman and her daughter, Margaret Freeman Cookson, indeed!) But as the I Ching says, "Perseverance furthers." So good work continuing to follow the threads!