Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Capt William White Woodbury

I have never been a huge fan of Forest Gump, but there is no disputing that genealogy research is "like a box of chocolates", because you never know what you are going to find.

I have been focusing a lot of my time researching the Armstrong line of my family living in Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth (now Portland, Maine).  I have traced the Armstrong family back to the early 1700's, but have hit a road block and I am hoping that there are some other distant relatives which will may have some information which can help me break through.

However, in the meantime, I have been researching Betsey Woodbury Dyer Armstrong's family.  I have multiple post on Betsey Woodbury Dyer Armstrong including:  Betsey Armstrong Probate Mystery, Armstrong Family Land Division - 1897, The Armstrongs and Woodburys of Cape Elizabeth.   

Betsey Woodbury was born Nov 16 1787.  Her parents were Israel Woodbury and Anna White Woodbury.  She married her first husband, William Dyer, Sept 27, 1804.  She was only 16.  They had at least three children:  Woodbury, Benjamin and William Dyer.  Her husband, William, died sometime between 1813-1817.  On Nov 1, 1817, she married her second husband, John Armstrong.  They had at least eight children:  Simon, Mary, Eben, Lucy, John B, Israel, Arthur and George.

Betsey had at least 9 siblings:  Hugh, Jane, Lucy, William, Christina, Jonas, Israel, John and Anna.  I will be making more blog posts on Betsey's mother family as they have some historical significance and some very interesting stories.

Today's post is about Betsey's brother, Captain William White Woodbury.  He died April 29, 1861.

Those of you who have researched in Maine, you know how rare it is to find any significant obituaries prior to 1900.  It is typical to find a death notice that says little more than the name and date of someone who has died.  So I was very excited to uncover such an information rich obituary for Captain Woodbury.  

I have transcribed it below:
Woodbury, William, Portland, April 29 at 90.  He arose on Monday morning at his usual hour and partly dressed himself; in two hours after, he was dead.  Capt. Woodbury was a descendant of John Woodbury, one of the Cape Ann company, who went to that place with Roger Conant in 1624; he afterwards settled in Beverly, Mass., from which the immediate ancestor of our deceased friend, Joshua Woodbury, came to Falmouth in 1727, and settled at Cape Elizabeth.  The parents of the deceased were Israel Woodbury and Ann, dau. of William, and dau. of Rev. John White of Gloucester, Cape Ann.  He was born on the old White farm near Simonton's Cove, at Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 2, 1772 (Maine records show DOB as Aug 4, 1772).  The Whites were ancient settlers at Cape Elizabeth; they occupied farms there previous to the Indian war, in which one was killed, and their land descended from their family to present day.  Capt Woodbury was long a successful shipmaster; afterward, he engaged in commercial pursuits on shore; was a prime mover in establishing the Marine Railway, incorporated in 1826;  he conducted it near thirty years, until it closed its affairs.  He was many years President of the Marine Society, and twenty-seven years President of the Merchants Bank of Portland, holding the office at the time of his death, and having been a Director from its incorporation in 1825.  He married in 1798 (Maine records show Nov 17, 1797), Mary, dau. of Capt William Hoole, who went to Portland from Boston just previous to the Revolution, which whom he has happily lived more than sixty-three years, and by whom he leaves one son and five daughters.  She survives to lament her faithful and long-cherished companion.  Capt W. was a man of most determined will, of sound judgement, of great discernment, and inflexible integrity. 
One of the great benefits of this obituary for my research was that I was trying to confirm that Betsey's mother Anna or Ann White was related to Rev John White of Gloucester.  This obituary was able to confirm this for me.  In addition, since the obituary was written at the time of his death, that I can have a high level of confidence in its accuracy.

The fact that I can confirm my lineage to Rev John White opens up some very interesting genealogy. More on that to come in future posts.

Obituary Source:New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol 15 (1861) pg 287

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