I fell asleep on the couch and woke up with a piggy in my lap and a dog sitting in front of me, staring. Thomas wanted to play tug with his stuffy.
This is the will of my great-great grandfather Walter Basquill’s sister, Margaret. She was the second wife of Thomas J. Burke, and she became stepmother to his two boys they married. One should be cautious reading too much into something like this, but I can’t help but wonder what the family dynamic was, given her bequests.
For context, Margaret and Thomas had four children of their own. Two died of tuberculosis: Thomas in 1910 at the age of 33 and Beatrice in 1911 at the age of 25. In 1912 her husband, Thomas, died of a stroke, caused by complications of a leg he broke in an accidental fall. He was 75. Margaret died in 1914 of a strangulated hernia, at the age of 59.
When she died, she had two surviving children and at least one surviving step-son, Michael. The step-daughter, Margaret, I had no knowledge of before finding this will. She must have been grown or perhaps farmed out to relatives, by the time Thomas married again.
I can’t find her Thomas will, if he had one. It’s possible that his children from his first marriage inherited enough from him that Margaret felt she didn’t need to give them more than a token. But what an odd thing to do. I have to think there was a story there, and that Margaret’s bequests to her step-children were deliberately unkind.
“Margaret T. Burke (alias)
Filed Feb. 27, 1914
Allowed Mar. 19, 1914
Be it remembered that I, Margaret T. Burke, of the Hyde Park District of Boston in the County of Suffolk and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, but knowing the uncertainties of this life, Declare this to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking all wills and codicils heretofore made by me. After the payment of my just debts and funeral charges, I give, devise and bequeath as follows:
First: To Michael J. Burke, a son of my deceased husband, of said Hyde Park District of said Boston, the sum of one dollar in money. Second To Margaret Gannett, a daughter of my deceased husband, of Dedham in the County of Norfolk and said Commonwealth, the sum of one dollar in money. Third: To Mary A. Jordan, my niece, of said Hyde Park District of said Boston, the sum of one hundred dollars in money. Fourth: To my daughter, Julia G. Burke, of said Hyde Park District of said Boston, all of the money deposited in the Hyde Park Savings Bank in book numbered 13970 said deposits according to said book being made in the name of Margaret T. Bourke. Fifth, To my daughter, Mary R. Burke, of said Hyde Park District of said Boston, all of the money deposited in the Dedham Institution for Savings in book numbered 18658, being deposited according to said book, by Margaret B. Burke. Sixth: To my said daughters Mary R. Burke and Julia G. Burke, all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal and wherever situated, in equal shares, to them and their heirs and assigns forever. Thereby nominate and appoint my said daughter, Mary R. Burke, to be the executrix of this will and hereby request that she may be exempt from giving a surety or sureties on her bond as such. In testimony whereof I have this third day of February A. D. 1914, hereunto set my hand.
Margaret T Burke (her mark)
Boston, Massachusetts. On this third day of February A. D. 1914, Margaret T. Burke signed the foregoing instrument in our presence declaring it to be her last will, and at her request in her presence and in the presence of each other, we three do now hereunto subscribe our names as witnesses hereto.
Katherine J. Donahue, Charles H. Galligan, Percy A. Hatzmen”
I’ve felt a little silly, getting obsessed over figuring out what is going on with this family. I should have stopped researching when I figured out that Bridget Theresa was the daughter of Patrick Basquill and Ellen Cannon, and that she married Frank H. Shipman in Berlin, Wisconsin. There was no reason to take it any further, because the Shipman ancestors were only tangential.
However, it bugged me that a couple of the censuses for the father, Abiram Shipman, had unrelated people residing with him that looked like they should be related. And then there was a granddaughter in the 1880 census. She couldn’t be a blood relative of Abiram Shipman, because he only had one son (despite having been married four times!). That son, Frank, married just once, as far as I can tell–to Bridget Theresa Basquill. And even if he had been married previous to that marriage, he was far too young to be this grandchild’s father.
So I was puzzled about what to do with this kid. I needed to figure out who Abiram’s 4th wife was married to, before Abiram. And I did! It’s taken me several days, but I think I have it figured out. The grandchild was the daughter of Abiram’s 4th wife and her first husband, identified in the only census I could find him listed in as just H. H. Tucker. A little more digging turned up his first name, Hosea, and that he’d died and was buried in the same county where Abiram and wife number four were married: Geauga, Ohio.
That didn’t help with the name of Abiram’s fourth wife, though. Their marriage license listed her as Polly Tucker. But what was her maiden name? It took some more digging, but I turned up the marriage record for Hosea H. Tucker and Polly Larned. She was just fourteen. If the age at death on his headstone is to be believed, Hosea Tucker would have been 27 at the time of marriage. That’s heartbreaking. But at least I can now give her back her own name.
And here’s the exciting and weird part: In sorting all that out, I found that Abiram Shipman had two wives who were sisters. Their names were Harriet and Joann Hamilton.
I knew I had Hamiltons in my family tree already, on my maternal grandpa’s side. And they were in the right part of the country in the right time to be the same Hamiltons. And I’ll be damned if they aren’t! The father of the sister wives was Nathaniel Augustus Hamilton. Their mother was Nathaniel’s second wife, Frances Dolph. My grandfather is descended from Nathaniel’s brother, Andrew Hamilton.
So all that work wasn’t entirely pointless. And I managed to give a lost woman back her name, in the process.
It poured rain this morning, so hard that Thomas tried to go on a sit down strike halfway through our walk. He parked himself in the grass and redused to move until I picked him up and put him back on the sidewalk.
He is made of spun sugar.
Then we had a brief reprieve for some picturesque fog, before it started raining again.
Parking Operations will ticket you if a tire is touching the white line. I can only imagine the driver got out of their car, looked, and said, “Screw it, I parked inside the lines and that’s good enough!”
I’d be so mortified I’d have to re-park.
[Also note that the passenger side of the car is beat to hell. There’s probably a good reason for that!]
Remember that Basquill branch I’ve been working on in Ontario? And I couldn’t figure out what had happened to Bridget, the daughter of Patrick Basquill and Ellen Cannon/Gannon? But I knew she could not be the Bridget Basquill who emigrated to the US, settled in Chicago, and married Thomas Raycraft? Onna counta that Bridget Basquill was mentioned in her father’s will, and her father’s name was William, not Patrick? And it wasn’t just a name variation, but an impossibility that William and Patrick were the same person, because Patrick died and was buried in Canada, long before William died and was buried in Chicago?
I looked at the Ancestry user trees for Bridget who married Thomas Raycraft/Raycroft, all of which either have no parents listed or the incorrect Patrick Basquill and Ellen [with no last name]. And then I realized something else these user trees got wrong. Several of them have Bridget’s middle name listed as Catherine. There was a Bridget Catherine Basquill in the Chicago area, but she was much younger than the two Bridgets I’m chasing. I think someone assumed the Bridget who married Thomas Raycraft must be the same Bridget who was also named Catherine. Nope, nope, nope.
But, that led me to re-examine the documents I *did* have for Bridget, daughter of Patrick and Ellen. In the 1861 Canada census, she’s listed as Tresa. O rly, I said? So I started looking for Theresas who were born in Canada but emigrated to the US, and I found a Theresa Basquille in the 1883 Madison, Wisconsin city directory. Huzzah! But is it the Bridget Theresa I’m looking for?
I think it is, y’all! I found a marriage index entry for her, on Ancestry, for 26 May 1887 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. No idea who she married, so I then searched the same index for marriages on that exact date, and I got a list of 17 individuals. Not bad, and definitely something I can work backwards from.
So then I started searching the 1900 census in Wisconsin for a T*eresa born in Canada between 1845 and 1855 (there effectively is no 1890 US census, so 1900 is the first census she’d appear in with her married name). And then I compared that list to the list of folks married on the date Theresa was married, and I found a match. Frank Shipman, married to Theresa, who was born in Canada in 1856, married in 1887.
So then I went to Family Search, because they have collections Ancestry does not have, and those records have also been indexed independently with new and even more exciting transcriber misspellings and mistakes. I found a marriage record there for a Frank H. Shipman to a Teresa Rasquille born in Canada whose parents were Patrick Rasquille and Ellen Gannon. The original image is not available, just the index, but gee, that looks like Patrick Basquille and Ellen Cannon, doesn’t it?
I am ridiculously excited and happy to have figured this out.
The officer in this story was Louis Basquill. I can’t recall off the top of my head which family he belongs to. He was born in County Mayo and emigrated to the US and lived the rest of his life in St. Louis, Missouri. He never married.
(ETA: He’s Louis F. Basquill, son of James Basquill and Mary Walsh, baptized 15 Feb 1854 in Killawalla, Ballintober Parish, County Mayo, Ireland. Baptismal sponsors James Jennings and Bridget Kelly.)
You have to admire someone who has the brass ovaries to lob pancakes at the first lady.
An Over-Zealous Prosecution.
Mrs. Annie Sax, the Pancake-Thrower, Fined Fifty Dollars.
St. Louis, Oct. 19.–The case of Mrs. Annie Sax, she of the griddle-cake-hurling propensity, came up in due course before Judge White in the Second District Police Court yesterday morning. The habitues of the police court were there in the usual proportion, but the great rank and file who manifested a temporary interest in the foolish caper were conspicuous by their absence, and had doubtless forgotten the existence of a woman who could throw a piece of fried dough fifty feet. The offense, as chronicled at the time, consisted in the eccentric manner in which Mrs. Annie Sax presented her last pancake to Mrs. Cleveland on Tuesday afternoon of Fair week, while the presidential party were driving by the “house of Comfort.” The greasy dodger struck Mrs. Cleveland on the sleeve, making a slight stain. Mayor Francis, without waiting for a fork, dropped the dyspeptic compound in the road. Meanwhile the heroic Annie had fled into the seclusion of a neighboring booth, whence Officer Basquill, a minion of the law, dragged her forth a few minutes later.
P.S. Lanham, Officer Basquill and Charles Klotter were examined, in turn. The fair defendant was given a hearing, and entered a general denial that she had intended to throw the morsel at any one. Mr. Lanham was recalled at this point and testified that Mrs. Sax had remarked that she wanted Mrs. Cleveland to know what St. Louis pancakes were made of, or words of similar import. The defendant here lost her naturally sweet temper, and was only prevented from giving vent to her indignation by the deputy marshal.
After the customary brilliant legal pyrotechnics on the part of Prosecuting Attorney Adams and Mr. Watson, defendant’s counsel, Judge White participated in the catechizing sufficiently to satisfy himself that Mrs. Sax had been guilty of “violent, tumultuous, offensive or obstreperous” conduct, as well as of a display of supreme disregard for the eternal fitness of things, in making the first lady of the land a target for her unerring aim. He accordingly fined her $50, from which decision Mr. Watson will take an appeal.