Thursday, September 28, 2023


 When I Googled for a connection between Cornelius Dunham and Abiel
Silver, one of the hits was a real find. Abiel and Ednah Hastings Silver's
daughter Ednah Silver had written a book on the American
Swedenborgian church, The History of the New Church in America.
There's a sizeable section in it on her father including pictures of all
three members of the family:

There's also one of their home in Jamaica Plain.

One of the stories Ednah told in her book was of how her father Abiel
lost an arm. He'd cut his hand peeling a piece of fruit and an incompetent
doctor's mistreatment of the wound started a blood infection which
eventually caused the arm to be amputated. Now this fact made me
wonder about Abiel Silver's death: he drowned. How did a one-armed
man end up drowning in the Charles River? I found the answe to that
at Googlebooks, contained in this article from Morning Light, The
New-Church Weekly:

"The Rev. Abiel Silver, chiefly known on this side of the Atlantic as
the author of some popular works, met with a painful end by
on March 27. It is supposed that when the train stopped he imagined
it had entered the station at Boston, instead of which it had halted on
Prison Point Bridge In stepping out it is thought he stepped directly
into the water. His struggles were heard, and a railway man extended
a board toward him, but being exhausted and having only one arm,
Mr. Silver could not clutch it sufficiently long to obtain further
assistance. The Boston Weekly Transcript of March 29 contains 
the following account of him:—

'Mr. Silver was a native of New Hampshire, and was nearly if not quite 
eighty-four years of age. He was formerly an Episcopal clergyman, but 
about thirty years ago he was ordained as a preacher of the 
Swedenborgian faith. He lived for some time in Michigan and Northern 
Indiana, where he was known as Judge Silver. Whilethere he met 
with an accident that rendered necessary the amputation of his 
left arm. He came east and for a while preached in Brooklyn, and
afterward in Hull and the Boston Highlands, for the Society of 
which he afterwards became pastor.When he first went to the 
Highlands the Society was worshipping in a hall, but the present
church edifice at the corner of Regent and Cliff  Streets was 
afterwards built, and Mr. Silver was settled as its pastor. 
Since coming east Mr. Silver has supplied pulpits at many places 
throughout New England, and became widely known. He has also 
preached in New York State and in Wilmington, Del. He has written 
many books and pamphlets on religious topics. Among these were 
books entitled "The Holy Word in its Own Defence," "The Symbolical
Character of the Holy Scriptures," and "The Philosophy of the Christian
Religion." In personal character he was a quiet and unostentatious but
industrious worker, and did a great deal of good without display.
 He was remarkably strong and rugged for one of such advanced age, 
and took vigorous exercise daily, nearly always preferring to walk 
rather than ride. He leaves a widow and one unmarried daughter.' "

Friday, September 15, 2023


 When I was researching the family Cornelius T. Dunham, I ran into a
small mystery. I could find no family tie with three people buried in the
Dunham family plot: Abiel Silver, Ednah Hastings, and Ednah Silver.
So I did a Google search on "Abiel Silver"+Dunham and found
that the connection was not blood but religion.

Abiel Silver was the minister at the Swedenborgian church in Boston
that CT Dunham attended. The two men must have been good friends
for Cornelius to allow Abiel and his family to be buried along side his

Now here's where synchronicity or coincidence or luck, call it what you
will once more comes into play: one of my Dad's maternal great
grandparents was named Amos Hastings Barker but I didn't make   
the connection with Abiel Silver's wife Ednah Hastings right away
because I was so caught up investigating the Dunhams. I mean,
what are the chances that another cousin from a different side of
the family would be buried in the same plot near my parents?

Yes. Ednah Hastings is not only a relative, she's actually even a
closer relative than Cornelius Dunham. Here's a relationship
chart I made with RootsMagic4:

 Ednah Hastings is Dad's 2nd cousin 4x removed through their
descent from John Hastings. To add even more to the irony, they
are also related through the Abbott and Farnum lines, since Ednah's
mother is descended from them as well!

I'm still gobsmacked.

To be continued....

Wednesday, September 13, 2023


 ((First posted om my West in New England blog in 2010))

 I like to think I'm a reasonably intelligent person but there are some
things that are just beyond my ken. One of them is legalese. I've
been struggling to make heads or tails out the legal case cousin
Cornelius T. Dunham became embroiled in with an apparently
tenacious woman named Catherine Carson over a rice plantation
in South Carolina. Sometime during the Civil War a man named
Edmund Hyatt had taken out a mortgage on it with two men named
McBurney and Gillespie. Then C.T. was "assigned" the mortgage
and sought to foreclose, but by this time Ms.Carson was in possession
of the property and the lawsuits began to fly.

It appear the legal war was waged through the courts of South Carolina
and Massachusetts with two appearances at the United States Supreme
Court, one of which is described in the following record. I find it ironic
that Catherine Carson's case hinged on her claim that C.T. Dunham was 
a resident of South Carolina, not Massachusetts While he had once lived
and worked in Charleston, by the time this case was argued he and his 
family had long since returned to his native Massachusetts and taken up
residence there as the Federal Censuses show. My best guess is that
it was a delaying tactic on Ms. Carson's part since she'd been fighting
the foreclosure tooth and nail. It's at times like this that I had the legal
expertise of Perry Mason or Craig Manson!

So here are some of the particulars of the appearance of my cousin
before the U.S. Supreme Court. Oh, by the way, he won.



Submitted March 28,1887. — Decided April 25,1887.

When a case is removed from a state court to a Circuit Court of the
United States on the ground that the controversy is wholly between
citizens of different states, and the adverse party moves in the Circuit
Court to remand the case, denying the averments as to citizenship,
the burden is on the party at whose instance the suit was removed
to establish the citizenship necessary to give jurisdiction to the
Circuit Court.

Opinion of the Court.
A petition filed in a state court, showing on its face sufficient ground
for the removal of the cause to a Circuit Court of the United States,
may be amended in the latter court by adding to it a fuller statement
of the facts, germane to the petition, upon which the statements in
it were grounded.

In order to give jurisdiction to a Circuit Court of the United States
of a cause by removal from a state court, under the removal clauses
of the act of March 3, 1875, c. 137, it is necessary that the construction
ether of the Constitution of the Uuited States, or of some law or
treaty of the United States, should be directly involved in the suit;
but the jurisdiction for review of the judgments of state courts
given by § 709 of the Revised Statutes extends to adverse decisions
upon rights and titles claimed under commissions held or authority
exercised under the United States, as well as to rights claimed
under the Constitution laws or treaties of the United States.

A mortgage made in enemy's territory to a loyal citizen of the United
States does not necessarily imply unlawful intercourse between the
parties, contrary to the non-intercourse proclamation and act.

A petition for the removal of a cause from a state court should set
out the facts on which the right is claimed; not the conclusions of
law only. This was an appeal from an order of a Circuit Court 

remanding a case to the state court from which it had been 
removed. The case is stated in the opinion of the court.

Mr. Clarence A. Seward and Mi: James Lowndes for appellant. 

Mr. A. G. Magrath and Mr. H. E. Young also filed a brief for

Mr. William E. Earle for appellee.

Mr. Chief Justice Waite delivered the opinion of the court.

This is an appeal under § 5 of the act of March 3, 1875, c. 137, 18
Stat. 470, from an order of the Circuit Court remanding a suit which
had been removed from a state court. The record shows that on the
11th of August, 1886, C. T. Dunham, the appellee, filed a bill in equity
in the Court of Common Pleas of Berkeley County, South Carolina,
against Caroline Carson, to foreclose a mortgage made by William
McBurney and Alfred L. Gillespie to Edmund Hyatt, which had been
assigned to Dunham. Is is alleged that Mrs. Carson is in possession
of the mortgaged property, and that she and the plaintiff are the
only necessary parties to the suit. Service was made on Mrs. Carson
by publication, for the reason, as shown by affidavit, that she did
not reside in South Carolina, but in Rome, Italy. On the 9th of October,
1886, which was the day service on her was completed, she entered
her appearance by counsel, and at the same time filed her petition
for the removal of the suit to the Circuit Court of the United States
for the District of South Carolina, on the following grounds:

" I. That all the matters therein have been already adjudged in her
favor by the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of
South Carolina.

"II. That the complainant is barred of his present action by a
judgment of the said court in her favor on the matter in controversy.

" III. That this court is without jurisdiction because a prior suit on the
 like matter is pending in the aforesaid court of the United States,
which, by its receiver, has possession of the subject matter of
this suit.

" IV. That the bond and mortgage sued on are void under the laws
of the United States.

"V. That the defendant holds title to Dean Hall plantation, the property
involved in this suit and mentioned in the complaint in the above-
entitled suit, under an authority exercised under the United States,
to wit, under a conveyance from the United States marshal for the
district of South Carolina, made under a decree of the United States
Circuit Court, for the said district, all of which will more fully
appear by her answer.

"The controversy in said suit is also wholly between citizens of
different states, viz., between the said C. T. Dunham, who, as your
petitioner is informed and avers, was, at the commencement of said
suit, and now is, a citizen of the state of South Carolina, and your
petitioner, who was, at the commencement of said suit, and now is,
a citizen of the state of Massachusetts; or the controversy in said
suit is wholly between Mary A. Hyatt, who was, at the commencement
of said suit, and now is, a citizen of the state of New York, and who is
the sole and only real party in interest in said suit and in said 

controversy, and your petitioner, who was, at the commencement of 
the said suit, and now is, a citizen of the state of Massachusetts, and 
which controversy is the only controversy in said suit; that the said 
Mary A. Hyatt is the real party plaintiff in said suit, and the said 
C. T. Dunham is but a nominal and colorable plaintiff, and that his 
name has been used merely for the purpose of defeating the 
jurisdiction of the Circuit Court of the United States for the 
District of South Carolina, and that said suit is, in fact, a
controversy wholly between the said Mary A. Hyatt and your 

petitioner, notwithstanding the assignment to the said C. T. 
Dunham in the complaint in said suit mentioned."

On the 11th of November Dunham filed in the Circuit Court an answer
to the petition of Mrs. Carson for removal, in which he denied that he
was a citizen of South Carolina, and averred that he was a citizen of the
same state with her, namely, Massachusetts. The issue made by this
answer was set down for trial in the Circuit Court, accompanied by an
order " that on such trial the burden shall be upon the defendant,
Caroline Carson, to show that the plaintiff, C. T. Dunham, is not a
citizen of Massachusetts."

Upon this trial it was substantially admitted that Dunham was at the
commencement of the suit a citizen of Massachusetts, and thereupon
the suit was remanded. From an order to that effect this appeal was 


The Circuit Court did not err in holding that the burden of proof was on
Mrs. Carson to show that Dunham was not a citizen of Massachusetts.
As she was the actor in the removal proceeding, it rested on her to
make out the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court. Dunham having denied
that he was a citizen of South Carolina, as she had stated in her petition,
and having claimed that he was in fact a citizen of Massachusetts, the
same as herself, the affirmative was on her to prove that his claim was
not true, or, in other words, that he was a citizen of another state
than her own. 

Davis, J. Bancroft, United States Reports Vol 121: Cases Adjudged 
in the Supreme Court at October Term, 1886, Banks and Brothers,
Albany& New York 1887 pp421-430

Friday, September 8, 2023



If you click on this photo to enlarge it, you'll see how close Cornelius 
and his family are buried to my Dad and Mom. Their graves are in 
the Veteran's Plot just beyond my car.

So just what sort of man was my distant cousin Cornelius Thomas
Dunham and what was his life like?

When I started researching him online I had the information from the
Dunham monument and the headstones in the plot:

Edward F Dunham
Annie S.B. Dunham

Marion Dunham Seaborn
John E. P Seaborn
Nov 30, 1835-Dec 23, 1900
Louise Seaborn Humphries

Abiel Silver
April 3, 1797
March 27, 1881
"He is risen"

His wife
Ednah Hastings
May 30th, 1797
Jan 12, 1892

Their daughter,
Ednah Charlotte
April 27, 1888

I had recently downloaded a history of Abington from Google Books
and started off my  search with that. I found Cornelius and his family,
as well as his ancestors, listed on page 370 of Benjamin Hobart's
"History of the town of Abington, Plymouth County, Massachusetts,
from its first settlement".

"IV. Cornelius T. Dunham, born in Abington, April 27, 1820; was 
married on the 7th of July, 1847, to Mrs. Ann B. Jenkins, (formerly 
Poyas,) of  Charleston, S. C. Their children were—

V. Henry Lucius, born September.8, 1848.
V. Edward Francis, born July 24, 1851.
V. Marion Porcher, born April 29, 1853.
V. Mary Emma, born August 7, 1857.
V. Elizabeth Ann, born February 18, 1859.
V. Cornelia Thomas, born April 24, 1862.
Of these, all were born in Charleston, S. C., excepting Mary Emma,
 who first saw the light in Abington; and Cornelia, in Winthrop, Mass."

So now the question was, how did somebody born and raised in the
town of Abington, Ma, end up living in Charleston, S.C.?  The answer
is simple: shoes. Abington is situated in the middle of an area that once
was the shoe manufacturing capital of America, and Cornelius, like
many of his Dunham relatives, made a career out the shoe industry.
I don't know when or how he moved to Charleston but he shows up
in the Charlotte Street directories listed as "CT Dunham, Boots &
Shoes" at about the time of his marriage. His wife Ann Ball Poyas
was a member of a prominent South Carolinian family whose
ancestor had immigrated to America from France in the late 18th
century but I've found no information as to how the marriage was
viewed by her relatives.

The Dunhams were living in Charleston as late as the 1860 Federal
Census but since their youngest child was born back in Massachusetts
in 1862 it is possible they moved north after the outbreak of the Civil
War. By the 1870 Census the family, along with two domestic servants,
was living here in Abington and Cornelius' occupation was listed as
"Boot and Shoe dealer". Business must have been good for Cornelius
because ten years later the Dunhams were lving on Pembroke St in
Boston where Cornelius was a prominent member of the newly
established Swedenborgian Church. He died of apoplexy on 15Aug

My research into cousin Cornelius T Dunham turned up two major
surprises. The first is that Cornelius was involved in a courtcase
that made it up to the Supreme court of the  United States.

The second surprise involves Abiel Silver, his wife Ednah Hastings
and their daughter.

These will be the subjects of the  posts to follow.

To be continued.....

Saturday, September 2, 2023


 ((First posted on my West in New England genealogy blog, Nov.2010))

When I got home from the laundromat on Thursday night I started
researching Cornelius Thomas Dunham. I found him on quite a few
family trees on Rootsweb, along with records at FamilySearch
Record Search and Matters were complicated by
the existence of a Cornelius Livingston Dunham born in Abington
in March 1823 while the birth record for Cornelius Thomas Dunham
listed his birth as April 1820, not the April 1823 date on the
monument at Mt Cedar Cemetery. ((Cornelius L was the son of
another Cornelius Dunham, and the father of yet another Cornelius.
((It's a New England thing: find a good name and keep using it until
it's all used up.)). Best of all I found an image of the Boston Deaths
registry for August 1895 which had the cause of death (apoplexy)
and the names of  Cornelius T.'s parents, Ezra Dunham (born in
Plymouth) and Polly Cary(born in North Bridgewater).

Using that information I was able to work back to our common
ancestors John Dunham and Abigail Barlow/Ballou. My family
is descended from their son Samuel Dunham, while Cornelius
was descended from Joseph Dunham. Cornelius Thomas Dunham
was my Dad's 6th cousin 3x removed through our Dunham line.

There's also a connection through Patience Barrows by way of
my Ellingwood line. My 3x great grandfather John Ellingwood
Jr was married to Rachel Barrows, Patience Barrow's grandniece.

Besides establishing the degree of relationship between my Dad
and Cornelius Dunham, my research also turned up some other 
interesting facts on Cornelius T. and his branch of the Dunham 
family, such as his wife and children being born in South Carolina,
I'll explore these in the next post

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 30, 2023


((Originally posted on my West in New England genealogy blog in 2011))



 I got off to a late start today so I decided to stay close to
home for my Thursday Road Trip and take a walk at
Mt. Vernon Cemetery here in Abington. My parents are
buried there in the Veterans Plot but I never really paid
much attention to the rest of the cemetery on my previous
visits. Today I took a look around after I visited them.

Both the Veterans' Plot and the nearby G.A.R. Civil
War Veterans Plot had been decorated with flags for
Veterans' Day.  I took some pictures of both, then
a nearby family plot drew my attention. In its center
stood a monument with a headless statue seated on the
top. I took a picture and then walked over to see the
inscription on the side. This is what I saw:

It reads:

"Cornelius T. Dunham
April, 1823-August, 1895
`Blessed are the pure of heart,
For they shall see God"

Ann Ball Dunham
September 1823-February (year is illegible)

Cornelia T. Dunham
April 24, 1862-November 8, 1944" 

I was, as we geneabloggers say, gobsmacked. Recently I've
been wrapped up in adding my Dunham ancestors and
collateral lines to my family tree on Ancestry. Chances were
very good that Cornelius was a distant cousin who I just
hadn't found yet in my research. I took more pictures of the
other sides of the monument and the other markers in the
plot for further reference and went off to do my laundry.

Needless to say, I had a lot to think about while at the
laundromat and once I got home, I started researching
Cornelius and his family. As it turns out, there's more 
than the Dunham connection and I'll be blogging next
about what I found. But above all that, I am struck
once more by what I call the "circle game" of my Dad's
family history.

What are the odds that my Dad who was born and raised
in Maine would end up being buried only a few yards away
from his distant unknown cousin in Massachusetts?

Friday, January 25, 2019


I visited Scotland Cemetery in Bridgewater, Massachusetts some seven years on a nice day in May. it's the resting place for many of my Keith and Fobes relatives, branches of my family that I am jst starting to explore. It's a long narrow strip of land but with just one dirt road that was rutted and which scraped the bottom of my car. Getting into it and out onto busy Pleasant st. was a bit harrowing, too. But it was worth it.

One of many Keith family markers in the cemetery

Freelove (Edson) Fobes, my 1st cousin 7x removed.