Ephraim Pierce

Born:Oct 13 1777 In:  Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachsetts
Died:Feb 26 1837 (at age 59)In:  Woodbury, Washington, Vermont
Info
Events

Immediate family

Ester Pierce (born Perry)
His wife
Stephen Pierce
His father
Anna Pierce (born Wheeler)
His mother
Ruth Bunt (born Pierce)
His sister
Mary Pierce
His sister
Zilpha Gary (born Pierce)
His sister
Hannah Walker (born Pierce)
His sister
Stephen Pierce
His brother
Bacchus Pierce
His brother
Asahel Pierce
His brother
Noah Pierce
His brother
Martha Commins (born Pierce)
His sister
Calvin Pierce
His brother
Roba Pierce
His sister
  

Biography

1 The Rehoboth Connection

My mother is a Pierce, descended from a branch of the Pierce family that

lived in recent times in the vicinity of Montpelier in Washington County,

Vermont. With the help of some memories and records from my mother and

assistance from several Pierce relatives who shared their knowledge, and with

thanks to The Pierce Project, we have traced her ancestry back through

several generations [Dorothy5 Pierce, Ira Amos4 Pierce, Ira Frank3 Pierce,

Josiah2 Pierce] to Ephraim1 Pierce, born in 1777 in Massachussetts. Ephraim is

her (and our) earliest provable ancestor.

My mother recited family tradition that her ancestry on both sides of

her family [Pierce through her father, Sanders through her mother] went back

to the early days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and while we were uncertain

whether family memory had been embellished through wishful thinking, we have

since been able to confirm that the family tradition is accurate.

We have not been able to find our Ephraim Pierce in the 1790 Federal

Census or in any other record prior to 1800. Ephraim Pierce first appears in

recorded land transactions shortly after 1800 in Woodbury, Vermont, in the

vicinity of other Pierces all of whom were related to each other and who had

emigrated to that particular area in Vermont from Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

We do not know for certain

whether Ephraim was related to

these other Pierces but for a

number of reasons that will be

outlined in the following pages,

we believe that it is both

reasonable and likely that

Ephraim was either brother or

cousin to these other Pierces.

Captain Michael Pierce,

who we believe is the progenitor

of our Pierce line, was the

youngest of four children born in

England, all of whom played a role

in the history of the

Massachusetts Bay Colony. The

eldest brother, Richard Pierce,

settled in Portsmouth, Rhode

6

Island. John Pierce, considered something of a villain, owned the king’s “patent”

to settle the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and probably owned the Mayflower,

although historians believe that it is unlikely that John Pierce visited the Colony.

His brother Captain William Pierce commanded the Mayflower after its first

voyage in 1620, and made at least 9 trips to the Colony in the Mayflower with

settlers and supplies. Captain Michael Pierce was the youngest of the brothers,

but he was the commander of the Colony’s militia, and died leading a raid on

Indian villages in what became known as King Philip’s War, in which the settlers

were badly beaten.

The history of the Pierce family at least in general outline is well known

and goes back many generations, at least to the 900s to Manfred de Percy, a

Danish knight, whose sons accompanied William the Conqueror in the Norman

conquest of England, and whose descendants include British royalty. As one

Pierce historian notes, for every nobleman in family history, there was also a

knave, and in that sense the history of the Pierces pretty much mimics the

history of every family. The story of the Pierces is well worth reading and the

history is widely available and will not be repeated in this family history, the

purpose of which is to memorialize the particulars of our branch of Pierces.

I said at the beginning of this chapter that Ephraim Pierce was our oldest

provable ancestor. However that is not the end of the story. There is

considerable evidence, which I will go into in detail in the paragraphs that follow,

that our ancestor Ephraim Pierce of Woodbury, Vermont, is a member of that

branch of the Pierce family from Rehoboth (Bristol County) Massachusetts [on

the border between

Massachusetts and Rhode Island]

that is descended from Captain

Michael Pierce of the

Massachusetts Bay Colony, and

that between 1795 and 1810

Ephraim together with his

brothers (or cousins) and others

in his extended family, moved to

the Calais-Woodbury area of

Vermont. We do not know if the

members of this Pierce clan went

there together or migrated there over several years, but it is clear that all the

Pierce males of that generation of the family moved to Vermont in a relatively

short period of time and all settled in the same general area of Vermont. In the

following paragraphs I will lay out the key elements of the argument.

7

A detailed line by line search of the 1790 census data shows that in

Rehoboth (Bristol County) Massachusetts there were 29 Peirces and 1 Pierce. In

the 1800 Census there were no Peirce/Pierces in Rehoboth. A search for

alternative names (Pearce/Pearse) uncovered three Pearse entries that I could

tie to heads of families with the Peirce name in 1790. However that left 26

Pierce heads of families unaccounted for.

Then I did a wider search using a census index that covered the rest of

the country to see if I could locate them elsewhere. Many of the forenames

were unusual enough that I could identify them (Peleg, Preserved, Comfort,

Constant, etc.) and noted that about one third of the missing heads of family

appeared elsewhere in the Bristol area (which includes both RI and MA) with

some elsewhere in MA. More than a third were elsewhere in US (VT, CT, PA, NY,

NC, etc.). Some were apparently

deceased, as I was able to find the

birth dates of some heads of families

and it was obvious that they were

already getting up in years by the time

of the 1790 census.

A little more research

generated another relevant statistic:

In 1790 in Rhode Island there were 40

Pierces and 44 Peirces listed as heads of families. The history of the area is

interesting. Bristol County RI is adjacent to Bristol County MA. Southern Rhode

Island was originally part of Massachusetts, and at various times in the 1700s

and early 1800s, pieces of Massachusetts mostly around Bristol were reassigned

to Rhode Island. So it is obvious that any study of the origins of the

Pierce/Peirces of that area has to consider the entire area around Bristol from

the time when it was separated from Plimouth Colony before the area began to

be broken up into smaller units. I noted that there were 12 Pierce/Peirces in

Bristol County RI at the time of the 1790 Census. Next I looked at the 1800

Census data for all of RI and discovered only 3 Pierce/Peirce head of family, and

3 Pearse families. Many families had disappeared. That suggests a very

significant outmigration of Pierces in the course of ten years.

Our examination of the frequency and distribution of Pierce in the

broader Bristol area, inclusive of both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, shows

that there was a large population of Pierces in that area in 1790, that many of

the descendants of Captain Michael Pierce can be identified as living in the

Bristol area over several generations previous to 1790, that these same families

were not in that area by 1800, and that we have conclusive evidence from these

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census records, and from the history of this area generally, there was a very

substantial out migration of Pierces from this area to elsewhere in the US,

including Vermont, between 1795 and 1810.

During the search of available data I discovered an Ephraim Pierce in the

Warren, Bristol County, Rhode Island, 1790 Census with a household of one male

over 16, one male under 16, and 2 slaves. We do not have enough information to

specifically identify this Ephraim. Close by were Wheeler, Nathan, Job and

Joshua Peirce. Compare these names with those in the family of Mial4 Pierce

(Ephraim3, Ephraim2 Michael1), born 1693 in Rehoboth, with children Ephraim,

Wheeler, Nathan, Mary, Judith, Mial (=Michael), Job, Caleb and Joshua

(=Josiah). [Genealogical data is usually shown in this format, so a bit of

explanation is warranted as to what it means. The head of this family is listed as

Mial. The superscript number after the name is a standard genealogical

designator for the generation counting downward from an ancestor; in this

instance, Michael is the 4th generation, his father Ephraim is the 3rd, then

another Ephraim is the 2nd and finally Michael is the 1st generation.]

Let me be clear about this: I am not arguing that our Ephraim is a

descendant of this family of Mial4 Pierce. He may be, but if he is, it is in a later

generation. It is a fact about these early Pierce generations, however, that they

tended to repeat important forenames in succeeding generations. Unfortunately

we do not know anything about the descendants of this Ephraim5, if any. But his

ancestry is suggestive: his grandfather and great grandfather were both named

Ephraim. I am arguing merely that our Ephraim is related to this broader family

that goes back to Captain Michael and that our Ephraim, if he is not a brother to

the Pierces who came from Rehoboth to Calais, then he is a cousin to them.

The substance of my argument, based on the preponderance of the

evidence, which I will outline in some detail hereafter, is that (a) the most likely

origin of Ephraim Pierce of Woodbury VT is the Rehoboth-Bristol area, (b) our

Ephraim is descended from Captain Michael Pierce, (c) he was part of the general

migration of Pierces from the Rehoboth-Bristol area to Vermont in the late

1790s, and (d) he is closely related (as brother or cousin) to the sons of

Stephen5 Pierce, all of whom settled in the Calais area of Vermont.

Our Ephraim appears in the Calais-Woodbury area of Vermont at about

the same time as the sons of Stephen Pierce, a 5th generation descendant of

Captain Michael Pierce. Stephen5 Pierce (Joseph4 Pierce, Azrikim3 Pierce,

Ephraim2 Pierce, Michael1 Pierce) was born 7 August 1739 in Rehoboth (Bristol

County, MA) and died 28 January 1805. He married Anna Wheeler on 20 March

1758 in Rehoboth, MA. She was born 15 October 1737 and died in June 1824 at

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Rehoboth. Stephen and Anna Wheeler Pierce had at least eleven children in

Rehoboth, most of whom emigrated to Vermont:

1. Ruth Pierce, born December 7, 1758 in Rehoboth; she married James

Bunt (or Burt) on December 9, 1780 in Rehoboth.

2. Mary Pierce was born August 23, 1760 in Rehoboth and died young in

Rehoboth.

3. Zilpha Pierce was born September 15, 1762, in Rehoboth. She moved to

Cabot, Vermont, married there Solomon Garry and died in Vermont on

May 17, 1830. They had children not mentioned here because they are

not relevant to the argument.

4. Anna Pierce was born January 1, 1764, in Rehoboth; she married Captain

Jonathan Walker in Rehoboth on June 04, 1792 and subsequently resided

in Rehoboth and Dighton, MA. They had children who remained in the

area of Rehoboth.

5. Stephen6 Pierce was born June 24, 1766, in Rehoboth and moved

subsequently to the Calais-Woodbury area of Vermont.

6. Backus Pierce was born March 13, 1768, in Rehoboth and moved

subsequently to the Calais-Woodbury area of Vermont.

7. Asahel Pierce was born April 7, 1771, in Rehoboth and moved subsequently

to the Calais-Woodbury area of Vermont.

8. Noah Pierce was born on January 26, 1773, in Rehoboth and moved

subsequently to the Calais-Woodbury area of Vermont.

9. Martha Pierce was born April 22, 1775 in Rehoboth; she married Abijah

Cummins in Rehoboth and probably remained there.

10. Calvin Pierce was born on December 2, 1780, in Rehoboth and moved

subsequently to the Calais-Woodbury area of Vermont.

11. Roba [also shown as Rhoda] Pierce is not mentioned in the descendancy

chart on The Pierce Project, but her birth date of 5 February 1783 is

reported by one source and is probably correct. Roba is mentioned in

Stephen’s will and identified there as his daughter, unmarried at the date

of the will and presumably alive when the will was probated.

The argument that follows is largely circumstantial. While it may not

meet the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” I believe that it more than

meets the common sense test of “clear and convincing evidence” that the

relationship between our Ephraim and the Rehoboth Pierces has been

established. We believe that it is more than likely that our Ephraim Pierce is a

part of this Rehoboth family, and we believe that the reasonable reader will

conclude as we have.

10

There is no birth record for our Ephraim Pierce that Pierce researchers

have been able to locate anywhere. The Vermont Federal census records, both

for Ephraim and for his children, consistently indicate that Ephraim was born in

Massachusetts. A historian of the early settlement of Woodbury, Vermont says

in his history that Ephraim came from New Hampshire. We observe that (a) the

census record is more likely to be accurate, since the question was asked of

Ephraim or his wife where they were born, and (b) it is possible that Ephraim was

born in Massachusetts but still could have come to Vermont by way of New

Hampshire.

I have looked at every available record that I could find in

Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont with no success. I also checked

Canadian records. A birth record would establish his parentage and birthplace

with some certainty. There are several Ephraim Pierces in the general time

frame with which we are concerned, but after careful examination they all have

proven to be the wrong Ephraim because of parentage, birth date, or some other

disqualifying factual consideration. Our Ephraim’s birth date is fairly established

as 13 October 1777 [or 1776, depending on the source]. Ephraim was

obviously born somewhere, but lacking any birth record we must conclude that

wherever he was born, that birth was not recorded, or the record was lost or

destroyed or is otherwise unrecoverable.

One possible place of origin for Ephraim is New Salem, Massachusetts.

His wife Esther Perry was born at New Salem, and his father in law Asa Perry

eventually moved from New Salem to Woodbury,Vermont. [ed. note: The next

chapter discusses Asa Perry’s difficulties with the New Salem community and

suggests that the reason for his move to Vermont was his expulsion for the New

Salem community.] Ephraim lived near his eventual father in law in Woodbury

and that may have been how he met Esther. There were quite a few

Pierce/Pearce families in New Salem and it is conceivable [though we believe

unlikely] that Ephraim came from one of these families.

Although some vital birth, marriage and death records at New Salem were

destroyed in a fire in 1855, a considerable effort to reconstruct the vital

records from a variety of sources has resulted in a great deal of birth, baptism,

marriage and cemetery inscription information that has survived from various

sources and is available on line. There are extant records from the two major

churches in the area, which seem to have served parishioners from quite a large

territory around New Salem. There is also a history of the Pierces of New

Salem, tracing their origins from Salem, MA to New Salem, which I have studied.

I found neither Ephraim nor any pattern of names that shows any similarities to

names in Ephraim Pierce’s descendants. The fact that he is not recorded at New

11

Salem is not proof that he was not born there, but absent other indications that

he may have come from New Salem I doubt that he originated there.

Those familiar with birth records in Bristol County MA (where Rehoboth

is located) have told me that there are many unrecorded births in that area

during the relevant time period and throughout Massachusetts, so the fact that

there is no record of his birth in the Rehoboth area is not evidence that his

birth did not occur in Bristol County. We considered that ten births were

recorded for the family of Stephen5 Pierce but apparently not Ephraim’s birth,

so should that omission be an important consideration?

Maybe not. We know that Roba’s birth was not recorded. In Bristol there

is no single source for locating birth records. There was no central registry.

Many births (and baptisms) were recorded by churches and those records that

survived were assembled into various genealogical documents, including the

International Genealogical Index (IGI). Some church records were lost, some

were burned in fires, from some records a page was missing or torn or in part

illegible. In some instances records of births were obtained indirectly from

other documents—town minutes, wills, land records, grave inscriptions, etc. So it

is neither surprising nor determinative that we cannot find Ephraim’s birth

record in Bristol or elsewhere.

We observed earlier that a comparison of the census records in Bristol

over time shows that between 1790 and 1820 there was substantial

“outmigration” of Pierces from Bristol County. This migration was both to the

north and to the west. This large scale movement of people seems to have begun

immediately after the Revolutionary War and continued at a rapid pace between

1790 and 1820. One factor in that movement was Federal grants of land to

soldiers as partial compensation for their military service in the Continental

Army. Another factor was the availability of cheap land west and north of

Bristol. The rapid growth of the population around Rehoboth and the need to

continually subdivide farmland into smaller parcels for the children of large

families resulted in insufficient land for an agricultural economy and forced later

generations to seek additional land elsewhere. The area around the present

boundaries of Washington County (Montpelier-Calais-Woodbury-Cabot) was

chartered in 1781 specifically for settlers from Massachusetts.

I believe it is reasonable to suggest that our Ephraim could be a son of

Stephen5 Pierce, born in 1776-1777, falling between Martha (b. 1775) and Calvin

(b. 1780). There is a 5-year gap between Martha and Calvin, while there is a two

year gap between the other children.

12

Sometime after 1790 and prior to 1820, various members of the family

identified in the Captain Michael genealogy (see the beginning of this argument)

as that of Stephen Pierce moved to Calais, Vermont. All the sons of Stephen

Pierce were in Calais VT at least by 1810: Stephen6, Noah, Asahel, Backus, and

Calvin. At some point two of the daughters of Stephen5 Pierce, along with their

husbands also moved to that same general region of Vermont. Noah Pierce was in

Calais in 1795, for which the evidence is a land purchase by him in Calais. Noah

and Asahel [shown in the records as Ashal or Asa] are recorded in Calais at the

time of the 1800 Census. We do not know whether they all moved to Vermont

together at one time but we can tell by the census records as well as recorded

births in Vermont that most of them were in Vermont by 1800 or shortly

thereafter.

Ephraim Pierce was in Woodbury at least by 1807. Woodbury adjoins

Calais. An early gazetteer of Vermont indicated that as far as can now be

determined Woodbury was first settled in 1795 (although it was chartered in

1780). The list of first settlers exists and Ephraim Pierce is not listed in the

group that first settled there in 1795. The Town of Woodbury was divided into

100-acre lots and distributed to settlers, probably because that was the limit of

what one family could reasonably farm with hand tools and draft animals.

We do not know when

Ephraim Pierce moved to Woodbury.

We do not know if he was in Vermont

much earlier than than 1807, but if

he was in Vermont he was not shown

in the 1800 census as head of family.

Only heads of families were

recorded. In 1800 Ephraim would

have been 23 years old, and since he

is not recorded as a head of household, we surmise that either he was not yet

there or, more likely, he is living in the household of some other Pierce. In 1790

he was 13 years old, and would not show up in a census and in any event was most

likely still in Rehoboth.

Noah Peirce and Asahel Peirce are both present in the census of 1800 at

Calais. Unfortunately the scanned copy of the census record that I saw was at a

fold or separation, appears to be torn, and is almost illegible. However I think

the census shows Ashal [=Asahel] with household of one male 26-44, one female

26-44 (probably his wife), and one male 0-9 years old (probably Alonzo, born 3

February 1799). The census also shows Noah, and I think the numbers are 2

males 26-44, 1 male 16-25, one female 16-25, 1 male 0-9. Noah was 27 years old

13

at this time. The “2” in the category of males 26-44 may actually be a “1”; only

the top portion of the number is visible, but when compared to the census-takers

customary “1” and “2” it appears to me to be closer to the “2.” Noah had a son

Horatio, b. 30 May 1800 who could be the male 0-9 [this Horatio died young].

The female is probably Noah’s wife, although the only marriage we know of

occurred in 1802, so this may have been a first wife who died, mother of

Horatio. If the number of males 26-44 is 2, that leaves one male 26-44 not

accounted for, and one male 16-25. The younger male 16-25 could be Ephraim,

who was 23. The other male 26-44 could be Backus; although Backus was older,

he did not marry until 1807, at about the time he bought land from Ephraim, so

he would not have counted as a head of household in 1800 and could have been

living with his brother.

We have a record of a land sale from Ephraim Pierce to Backus Pierce in

1807. That does not prove they were kin, but if they are not it is certainly an

interesting coincidence.

Does the census of 1790 in Bristol show an additional male child other

than those we know about that could be our Ephraim? That census is

inconclusive but there is a possibility that Ephraim was there. The household

that is probably that of Stephen5 Peirce in the 1790 Census at Rehoboth [there

is only one Stephen Peirce/Pierce head of household in this census] indicates the

presence of 4 males 16 or older, 1 male less than 16 years old, and 4 females. In

trying to determine who the likely individuals were in the household we speculate

that these 4 males 16+ include Stephen as head, sons Stephen (age 24), Backus

(age 22), and Noah (age 16); one male less than 16 is likely Calvin (age 10). So

our argument falters a bit here because there does not appear to be any place

for 13-year old Ephraim in this family unit. One researcher believes this is a

fatal flaw in the argument. However we note that Asa (Asahel) or one of the

other brothers is also missing in this census.

In that same 1790 census an Asa Pierce is listed as a separate head of

household in Somerset, Bristol County. This may be Asa son of Stephen5. This

family consists of one male 16 or older (Asa), 2 males younger than 16 which

could include Ephraim (age 13) and a possible young son of Asa; and 2 females

(his wife? and either a daughter or one of his sisters, such as Martha (15) who is

old enough to be living with her brother. The point is there is room in one of

these households for 13 year old Ephraim in 1790 without stretching the

parameters of reason. No proof, but possible.

Noah, Stephen5, Stephen6, Calvin, and Backus were all missing from the

1800 Census at Rehoboth. They may have gone to Vermont during or prior to

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1800. There is an Asa listed as head of household in Rehoboth, but he is

probably not the Asahel of this family, because Asahel appears in 1800 at Calais,

VT. I am inclined to believe that the Ashel in Vermont is most likely Asahel

based largely on his presence in Calais with other members of the Rehoboth

Stephen5 Pierce clan. So our argument falters a bit with uncertainty on this

point. If they all moved more or less together in 1800 they may not have been

recorded in either place during the 1800 census

Carol Backus, a descendant researcher of this line, reported that she

discovered a Stephen Pierce was Justice of the Peace in Waitsfield in 1802.

Odd that he does not show up in the census. That must be Stephen6 Pierce, who

was 36 years old by that date, and if that is the right Stephen we conclude that

he was in the area at least by 1802. We don’t know of any other Stephen Pierce

in the area that early.

Carol searched Woodbury Town Records and found the earliest mention

of Ephraim buying land was September 8, 1807 and the record stated that

Ephraim was “of Woodbury” so he obviously lived there prior to buying the land

in 1807. The earliest record of Backus Pierce buying land in Woodbury was May

8, 1808 [was that the same land sold by Ephraim, a transaction found by Laura

Gaudette Green?].

In 1830 (per census) Horatio Pierce, son of Noah Pierce, was living next

door to Ephraim Pierce and his family in Woodbury, Caledonia County. Ephraim

died in 1837. At the time of the 1840 Census, Horatio was living in Calais,

Washington County, immediately next door to Ephraim’s widow, Esther Pierce.

So we note with interest that Horatio seemed to be looking out for Esther, or in

any event they moved from one place where they lived next to each other to

another place where they lived next to each other and that suggests a kinship

relationship.

In looking at naming patterns I did not discover much that was helpful to

this argument one way or the other except for one possible characteristic of

this family that may be significant. Backus Pierce had a son that he named ”Ira

Earl Pierce.” In the descendants of the Pierces from Bristol MA there is also

“Ira Orlando Pierce,” born 1826 at Wardsboro MA, son of Lemuel Pierce. Middle

names are infrequent among the Pierces of these early generations. However in

Ephraim’s family we have “Ira Frank Pierce” and “Ira Amos Pierce.” A search for

“Ira Pierce” at the Mormon Family Search website showed that the name Ira

appears in Pierces of the Rehoboth branch quite frequently in the period before

1825, and most instances of the name Ira Pierce tracked back ultimately to the

Rehoboth group.

15

There is another set of names that is curious. Our Ephraim Pierce had a

son named Gamaliel. A search of the online census database at Heritage Quest

for Gamaliel (Pierce/Peirce) produces two items in 1860, one age 71 in Dighton,

MA; and the other age 28, laborer, born NH at Barnstable, MA. This Barnstable

Gamaliel is Ephraim’s son Gamaliel. The Gamaliel who lived in Dighton, MA

[Bristol County] was born there in 1799 and died there in 1878. This Gamaliel is

a nephew of the brothers Stephen Pierce, Backus Pierce, et al ., who emigrated to

Vermont from Rehoboth, MA. Dighton is in the immediate area of Rehoboth, in

Bristol County, MA. Is it significant that our Ephraim named his son Gamaliel?

That is a rather uncommon name among Pierces, although it does come up in later

generations of Pierces.

There is one significant fact that counts against my conclusion that

Ephraim is an unrecorded son of Stephen5 Pierce—Stephen’s will. The will as

probated in a Rehoboth court on 5 March 1805 was signed and acknowledged 8

months previously, on 9 August 1804. All of the known children of Stephen

Pierce are mentioned in the will except Mary, who we believe died young. We

learn from her mention in the will that Stephen had a daughter Roba Pierce, who

is not mentioned elsewhere and for whom we have no birth record. However

Ephraim is not mentioned, and if Ephraim was in fact a son of Stephen it is odd

that he is not mentioned in his father’s will. Stephen notes in the will that he

was ill at the time the will was signed; his sense of his impending death was

presumably the reason this will was written. He also states that he revokes all

previous wills. From that we could conclude the possibility that for one reason or

another, including a fall out with Stephen, Ephraim was written out of the will.

In a modern will the formal revocation of previous wills is a standard pro forma

clause and does not necessarily imply the existence in fact of previous wills, but

in this instance we can consider that possibility. However the omission of

Ephraim from the will at best only leads us to conclude that Ephraim may not be

a son of Stephen, not that he was unrelated.

Mary Newman, coordinator of the Rutland Genealogy Project, wrote to me

in response to my inquiry about the extent to which vital records were missing in

Vermont that:

Many people came to Vermont during the Revolutionary War, and then

came back after the war from the big three, Connecticut,

Massachussetts, and Rhode Island. Most persons are pretty welldocumented

from those states, but after 1790 to about 1830 the recordkeeping

in Vermont was sporadic, and depended upon each town's habits.

Then you also have lost, burned, or damaged records for each individual

16

town. Essentially Vermont liked to keep records, [its settlers] came from

places that kept them! Then there was the mandate that all the records

in each town be copied and sent to the state; this took many, many years,

I think! Amazingly, some town clerks went above the call of duty, and took

cemetery inscriptions and notations from early town meeting books

(different than vital record books) where in early times whole families

when they arrived in town would be itemized with their birth dates (not

where!), or a bunch of marriages or deaths would be noted.

So now you have two places to look, one at the town level, and one at the

state level. Some records may have been "lost" at the town level, but

might be "found" at the state level, so please look both places! But then,

at the state level the records were originally kept on individual index

cards, and some "went missing", should I say, to unscrupulous

genealogists? Eventually, all the cards (without the missing ones) were

microfilmed, and there is a "but" here also. Sometimes in the

microfilming, things were overlooked and then microfilmed at the end of

some film, where, you would have to be a magician to find it! ….

And then, there was the Vermont (and maybe other states) practice of

sending records of birth, marriages, deaths out to other localities where

the parties might have been from. You
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