|Her Ancestry is in Her Name|
In 1913, Henry Winthrop Hardon published a Huckins family genealogy - Robert Huckins of the Dover Combination & Some of His Descendants - in several consecutive issues of the highly respected 'New England Historical & Genealogical Register'. In that article - expanded and republished as a privately printed book 3 years later - he noted the following about James Huckins (of Dover, NH and later of Windsor, Hillsborough Co., VT) :
"A carpenter, James Huckins married first ELIZABETH _________, whose maiden name according to vague and unsupported family tradition was Montgomery; and secondly a wife whose name has been lost and who died in 1813. He was of Barrington in 1790, and was taxed there in 1795 but not afterwards, and probably removed then to Dorchester, where he was in 1798. He was town officer at Barrington at intervals from 1783 to 1795. In 1813 he is said to have been of Windsor, Vt. The Windsor VT connection is of itself interesting, as it is one of the Scotch Irish settlements favored by - among others - the Montgomerys."
As part of James' entry, Hardon listed five children for James and this unidentified Elizabeth, one of whom was an Abra Huckins. Hardon further noted that this Abra "d. unm.", thus seemingly putting an end to a genealogically unexciting story about an obscure dau by an uncertain mother.
Fortunately for this Abra Huckins' descendants, genealogy is not static - new evidence, research and luck can lead to exciting discoveries.
Three decades later, Katherine F. Richmond published a 2 volume genealogy, John Hayes of Dover, New Hampshire - A History of his Family. Acknowledging Hardon's work, she made several important revisions because she had found the will of Abra [Hayes'] husband John Montgomery in which he clearly identifies his dau 'Elizabeth Huckins'. Below is a summary of that will (copied from LDS microfilm record #16476, item2, containing the Probate Records, 1773-1946, for Strafford County NH Probate Court, Volume 9, pages 467-469) :
FOR: John Montgomery, of Barrington, in the County of Strafford and State of New Hampshire, Gentleman, . .|
DISTRIBUTION: . . As to the estate I have now remaining I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner, First I give and bequeath to the Children of my Late Daughter Elizabeth Huckings deceased, one hundred and fifty dollars, to be divided equally among them. Item, the remainder of my personal estate I give to my son Jonathan Montgomery whom I make Sole Executor to this my Last Will and Testament.
WHEN: I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this fourth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred [4 Mar 1800].
WITNESSES: Samuel Hale, William Foss, Nathaniel Randel.
PROBATED: On the eleventh day of June, one thousand and eight hundred and five [11 Jun 1805], Samuel Hale and William Foss appearing as witnesses.
Clearly Henry Hardon was wrong about the name of James Huckins' wife. But Richmond could add nothing new about daughter Abra, who thus remained unm. But had she made a closer examination of Hardon's book, Richmond would have found uncertainty there as well. For hidden away on page 141 of the index to his 1916 book (re-edited from the NEHGR article and expanded to include the index), Hardon adds a critical question mark to Abra's description - i.e. 'Abra unm.(?)'. Though inconspicuous and almost always overlooked, Hardon acknowledged uncertainty whether Abra married or not. One thus suspects that Hardon perhaps relied on a James Huckins's will or probate record which - accepting Hardon's 1813 date of death for James - would indeed have shown Abra as unm. in 1813 since she didn't marry Samuel Kielle until two years later.
In 1998, William Wentworth published a 2 volume transcription of the Journals of Enoch Hayes Place, thus making available to a wider public the detailed records of this important Dover and Barrington NH area Baptist preacher. The book was not only a great addition for both historians and genealogists, but was made even more useful by including an invaluable index to all the names that Place mentioned. Among Place's entries is :
Jan 22 . This evening at our [Place's] house I married Mr. Samuel Kelley to Mrs. Abra Huckins both of Barrington [in Strafford Co., NH].
This entry is the first of several important items of evidence that - in combination - completely disprove Hardon's statement that Abra Huckins, dau of James Huckins, d. unm. Instead, the evidence confirms Place's Journal entry that Abra - now of Barrington - did indeed marry, and that her husband's name was Samuel Kelley.
As explained and documented elsewhere herein, the last name of the man Abra Huckins married was - as happened many times for members of this family - an 'Americanized' version of 'Kielle'. More specifically, the man Abra married was Samuel Kielle, the son of Ebenezer Kielle and Mary Hall of Barrington, NH and a grandson of James Kielle and Deborah Stiles of Dover, NH.
Samuel's grandfather - James Kielle - was the probable immigrant for this line. He was an early settler of Dover, NH (his name first appears in 1733), a tailor by profession and a sometimes surety of Dover area wills. While Ezra Stearns, on page 953 of his monumental Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire describes him as an "emigrant from Ireland born April 15, 1708, from whom comes the name Kelly", one has a strong suspicion that he was one of the group of Scots Irish settlers (which included the Montgomerys and some additional Hayes families) that settled in New Hampshire and adjoining states about 1720. Also of significance, James and his wife were members of the First Church of Dover (where all his children have baptismal records) and where many other important figures of early Dover (including some Montgomery, Hayes and Huckins families) were also members. While all of James Kielle's other descendants would indeed change the spelling of their name within a generation or two to Kelley (or sometimes Kelly as Ezra Stearns claimed), Samuel Kielle was unique for not only continuing the spelling, but for also clarifying its pronunciation by adding a 'y' at the end of the name. That spelling change occurred sometime before 5 Aug 1842, when his 2 sons used the name 'Kielley' on a land deed in Muskingum Co., OH, with Samuel Kielley acting as a witness.
While no birth certificate, family will or other document has been found that, by itself, can prove the identify of Abra's parents, a review of other Kielley family records (maintained by Henry S. Conroy of Sierra Vista AZ with most of them summarized on his ancestry.com tree,db=conroyh) - dispels all doubt about Abra's origins. The reportedly 'unm' Abra Huckins shown in Hardon's and Richmond's genealogies is quite clearly the same Abra Huckins who married Samuel Kielle in the home of Rev. Enoch Hayes Place the night of 22 Jan, 1815. The essential proof is found not only in Abra's own full name, but in the names of Samuel and Abra's 3 children and - of equal importance - one of their early grandchildren.
Starting with Abra herself, family documents state that her full name was Abra Montgomery Huckins. Yet despite the seeming clues to her past that lie within that name, the family had consistently encountered the family genealogist's proverbial 'brick wall' whenever attempting to identify the names of her parents. The problem being the lack of any additional family records that could identify and/or document the name of even one - much less both - of Abra's parents or anything more about her family origins.
Fortunately, Kielley family records do confirm that Samuel, Abra and their 3 known children are an exact match with the 'Samuel Kelley' family shown in the 1850 census for Muskingum, Muskingum Co., OH (with the 2 sons shown therein being found for several decades thereafter in Dane Co., and Crawford Co., WI). So notwithstanding the 'Kelley' spelling (a typical census taker simplification or misunderstanding not unlike that found in Rev. Place's journals and Ezra Stearns' book), it is clearly them since the names and ages of all members of the household match the family records for them. Of special note is that Samuel is shown as b. 1785, Abra as b. 1792, and both are shown as born in NH. Their 3 children are also shown - a dau Elizabeth, an older son James M., and his brother Ebenezer, all also NH born - along with 3 grandchildren born in OH (including - importantly - a dau named 'Abrah M H' age 6).
The first names and middle initials of their 3 children and one grandchild - as independently recorded and documented in the 1850 U.S. Census - are of critical importance, for they - along with Abra's own name - constitute essentially irrefutable proof that Abra Kelley/Kielley is the daughter of James Huckins and Elizabeth (Montgomery) Huckins. That is, while Henry Hardon established that James Huckins had a dau named Abra, and Katherine Richmond proved that James Huckins did indeed marry Elizabeth Montgomery, neither had evidence whether Abra had married, much less the name of a husband. It would be almost a century after Hardon's book that proof of Abra's marriage - to Samuel 'Kelley' - would become available (via the publication of Rev. Enoch Hays Place's Journals).
Abra's very name - and of her children and grandchildren - confirms that the 'Abra Huckins' noted by Henry Hardon, Katherine Richmond and the Rev. Place is one and the same person. Richmond's Hayes family genealogy indicates that not only was Abra's middle name the maiden name of her mother Elizabeth Montgomery, but that her first name was also the name of her grandmother, Abra (Hayes) Montgomery. Further strengthening the Hayes-Montgomery-Kielle link is the fact that on 1 Aug 1742 Abra Hayes is recorded as marrying John Montgomery in First Church of Dover (which she apparently joined the same day) - the same Church where Samuel's father Ebenezer was baptized just 4 years later (on 1 Jun 1746). Abra Hayes was in turn the grand-dau of another pioneer Dover family, immigrant John 'the Scotsman' Hayes. Although proof is lacking for the family tradition that John Hayes was a descendant of the Baron de la Haye who accompanied William the Conqueror, there is a fully proven line of descent from John's alleged brother George (who settled in nearby Windsor, VT along with many other Scots-Irish immigrants - and the same location to which James Huckins retired) to US President Rutherford B. Hayes.
Quite clearly both Abra and Samuel were proud of their parental heritage, for each of their 3 children carries the first and (except for their last son) middle name of one of Abra's and Samuel's parents. Samuel and Abra's first child was clearly named after Abra's mother ('Elizabeth' in the 1850 census, but - more completely from family records - Elizabeth Huckins Kielley), their second child and first son also reflected names from Abra's family (James Montgomery Kielley - the 'James M' in the 1850 census), and their last child was clearly named after Samuel's father, Ebenezer Kielle (who died a short 2 weeks after his namesake grandson was born 8 September, 1820).
But the most unusual and thus most convincing proof in this family's names is the full name of their grand-dau - the 'Abrah M. H. Kielley' identified in the 1850 Ohio census. Her full name was, as recorded in family records and elsewhere, Abra Montgomery Huckins Kielley. Even two generations later, Samuel and Abrah's son named their first dau not only after her grandmother, but incorporated the ancestral lines of her maternal great grandparents - (Elizabeth) Montgomery and (James) Huckins.
As further research has now documented, Abra and her family had good reason to honor - and thus preserve - her direct descendancy not only from the Huckins and Montgomerys of Dover, but from the Hayes family. A full review of the Richmond genealogy of the Hayes family - as documented in probate, property and other records - shows that Abra (Hayes) Montgomery's mother was Tamsen Wentworth, dau. of Ezekiel Wentworth and grand-dau of Elder William Wentworth of Dover, NH. Elder William Wentworth, the original Wentworth immigrant, was in turn not only a cousin of the first governor of New Hampshire, but a descendant of the esteemed Wentworth family of England whose origins are documented back to the invasion of England alongside William the Conqueror. Continuing genealogical research has also been able to prove that Abra - via the Wentworth 'Royal Gateway' as above described - is thus a direct descendant of Henry II Plantagenet King of England, William the Lion King of Scotland, many Magna Charta Sureties and Advisors, Alfred the Great, Charlemagne and Lady Godiva (among others).
All this, just from a close analysis of her name and those of her offspring.
Thank you Abra Montgomery Huckins for honoring your parents, thereby permitting later generations to rediscover (via the names of your children), your proud heritage.
1. Conroy, Henry S.; Kielley Family Records in the Possession of Henry S. Conroy; A valuable variety of documents, statements and other materials gathered from family members, as posted on his ancestry.com website tree, db=conroyh (full URL = http://awt.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=conroyh). Site shows address as 2330 Cristina Ave, Sierra Vista, AZ, USA, 85635, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Hardon, Henry Winthrop; Robert Huckins of the Dover Combination & Some of His Descendants; See New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Jan 1913 thru Jul 1913. Hardon's NEHGR article was then re-edited and expanded to include an additional generation and then privately printed in 1916 in an edition of 175 copies. The 1916 book can be reviewed in the ancestry.com 'Family & Local Histories' library.
3. Hurd, D. Hamilton; The History of Rockingham and Strafford Counties New Hampshire; 1882; Philadelphia PA; reissued in 2002 as PDF files on a CD-ROM.
4. Place, Enoch Hayes (Transcribed by William E. Wentworth); Journals of Rev. Enoch Hayes Place 1810-1865 regarding people from Strafford and Surrounding Places; New England Historical & Genealogical Society; Boston; 1998; 2 Volumes.
5. Richmond, Katherine F.; John Hayes of Dover, New Hampshire - A History of his Family; Tyngsboro; Privately Publ by Katherine Richmond; 1936; 2 Vols, 448 pages & 449-911 pages.
6. Scales, John; The History of Dover New Hampshire; 1923; J.B. Clarke; Manchester NH; 499 pages
7. Hall, Rev David B. A.M.; The Halls of New England. Genealogical and Biographical; 1883; Albany, NY.; Joel Munsell's Sons. Over 725 pages.
8. Stackpole, Everett S. and Thompson, Lucien; History of the Town of Durham New Hampshire (Oyster River Plantation); Published by the Town of Durham; 1914; in 2 Volumes. The history is in Vol. I, all genealogies are in Vol. II with pages restarting at page 1. Book was reissued 2000 as CD-ROM by Preserved Books.
9. Stearns, Ezra S.; Genealogical and family history of the state of New Hamphire : a record of the achievements of her people in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation; New York [New York] : Lewis Publishing Company, 1908; 4 Vols.
10. U.S. Department of Commerce; 1850 Census of the United States; As found on ancestry.com website. Official enumeration date is as of 1 Jun 1850.
11. Various ministers and clerks; Manual of the First Church of Dover NH : Organized Dec 1638; N. E. Stiles' Job Print; 1900; Dover NH. The document - which contains numerous 18th and 19th century birth, marriage and death records - appears in 'Collections of the Dover, N.H. Historical Society', which book is available online in the ancestry.com 'Families and Local Histories' Collection.
12. Wentworth, John, LL.D., of Chicago, Illinois; The Wentworth Genealogy: English and American; Boston MA; Little, Brown & Co.; 1878. In Three Volumes. An earlier 2 volume edition, Boston MA; Press of A. Mudge & Son; 1870 can be found in the ancestry.com 'Family and Local Histories' Library, while the original NEHGR article can be found in various issues beginning on page 321 of the Oct 1850 issue (Vol. 4).