Solving The Puzzle
Hester Wray Towshend Bell and Her Daughters
By Ruby M. Cusack
When Cliff and I walked through the kitchen
door, Gramp was waiting for us. He suggested we hurry and fill the wood box
and get the kindling, if we wanted to go to Ossekeag with him.
I knew where Passekeag was but I didn't have a clue how long a drive it would be to get to Ossekeag.
Now way over in Norway, a transplanted Saint Johner, Pat Townshend Alnes, found a reference in a Prince Edward Island file to Hester Wray Towshend Bell dying in Ossekeag, New Brunswick in 1868. Since she had never heard of this place, she sent me a message of inquiry.
Before replying that Ossekeag is now part of Hampton in Kings County, I checked Dan Johnson's Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers for 1868 and found mention of Hester Bell’s death and that she was the widow of Dr. Joseph Bell of Portland.
A search of the records of St. Paul's Church at Lakeside revealed her
funeral service had been at the church but the burial was in the Saint John
The lot card at Fernhill Cemetery listed Dr. Joseph Bell, Hester Bell, Mary Rogers and Flora Rogers as being buried in the one plot.
A little more digging found Dr. Joseph Bell had been a physician in Woodstock and in 1867 purchased a farm at Ossekeag Creek. Mary Rogers was their daughter and had married the Rev. George Rogers in Woodstock and later in Springfield. Flora Rogers was her daughter, being the second wife of James Noble Rogers, who lived at 16 Charles Street, Saint John.
Dr. Bell's will named three daughters, Mary who married the Rev. George Rogers, Helen and Emma. The probate showed a Helen G. McManus and a husband David S. McManus. Emma was living in Gagetown in 1872.
A surprise was in store when it was found that a Helen Hillcoat had been married at St. Paul's Anglican Church, Lakeside to a David S. McManus in 1871.
Pat Alnes was able to determine that Helen Bell had married at about age 20 in Prince Edward Island to a Dr. Hillcoat, a widower with five children. She bore him three children within the next four years. A trip to Wales to visit his parents ended in tragedy with his drowning while rescuing his son who had fallen overboard.
At age 24, Helen G. Bell Hillcoat was left as a widow with eight children
under her wing.
It would be interesting to know if these eight children were in attendance at her marriage to David McManus, that was performed by the minister of St. Paul’s Church, Lakeside in 1871.
Helen and David McManus moved to Sussex, where she gave birth to four children. Three of them died as infants and are buried in the Trinity Anglican Church cemetery.
Two of her Hillcoat sons married in Sussex but moved to Amherst in the
late 1890s. Helen, David S. and son Cecil W. McManus moved to Moncton.
On January 21, 2000, Don Hazelton of Arizona had his query published in this column that he was seeking his lost branch of the Hillcoat family in Eastern Canada.
In February of 2002, Pat Alnes of Norway connected with him and they have been busy fitting together the pieces of the Hillcoat family puzzle.
A great granddaughter of Helen Bell Hillcoat McManus has also been located and she has been contributing information on the Hampton Parish McManus family.
There are two unsolved mysteries in this search. What became of Emma Bell, who was born in about 1838 and where did Cecil Rogers who was born in 1913 move to after the death of his father, James Noble Rogers in Saint John in1931?
If anyone has information to share on the above families, contact Pat Townshend Alnes, Refsnes, 4365 Naerbo, Norway, N-4365. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don Hazelton of Arizona was probably surprised that a query placed in a Saint John newspaper would provide contact with a person living in Norway who would help him fill in the blanks on his lost branch of the Hillcoat family in Eastern Canada.
Thanks to the internet, the tracking of lost ancestors has been made easier.
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Golding - Case -Harrington - Shaw: I am looking for information on the family of Ann Gusta Golding (1837-1861), daughter of James Golding and Susan Case, first wife of Ebenezer Rider Harrington (c1828-1903). His second spouse was Deborah Shaw (c1831-1894). There would have been five children in the first family: Ann, Ebenezer and Deborah were buried in the Old Methodist Cemetery, Saint John.
-George Shaw, 162 Bay St., Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, K9A 1P6. E-mail to email@example.com.
Donovan - Hourihan - McDevitt: I am looking for information on the descendants of Jeremiah Donovan and Johanna Hourihan. Johanna and Jeremiah were married round 1859 or 1860, as far as I know in Sussex, New Brunswick. They had six sons and two daughters. All the sons were born around the Sussex area and the two daughters were born after they moved to Fredericton Road. Johanna died on December 12, 1878 and is buried at Fredericton Road Cemetery. A few years later Jeremiah married Margaret McDevitt and they moved to Melrose, Mass. with Maryann, Margaret, Jeremiah and possibly some of the other sons. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
-Aldene M Hourihan-Gionet, 26-500 Douglas Ave., Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, E2K 1E7. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Turner- Hutchinson -McGraw - Stevens - Bubar - Boyd - Alexander - Wicketshaw - Finlay - Russel - Whitmore: I am looking for descendants of Holden Turner, who was born November 4, 1760, in Glasgow, Scotland. He was in the British 22nd Regiment Foot, from 1778 to 1783, and he settled first at Lincoln, Sunbury County, New Brunswick and later at Fredericton after 1821. He married Jennet Hutchinson in 1784 in Maugerville who was evidently born about 1766 in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland and died after 1851 in Fredericton. They had ten children, nine of whom married and had at least 65 grandchildren with surnames of McGraw, Stevens, and Bubar, as well as Turner. It appears that Holden was the son of Robert Turner and Janet Boyd of Lanarkshire, Scotland and grandson of John Turner and Margaret Alexander and great grandson of John Turner and Margaret Wicketshaw of the same place. Less is known of Jennet's ancestry other than that her parents were probably Robert Hutchinson and Anne Finlay of Angushire, Scotland. More information about the Hutchinsons, who brought Jennet to New Brunswick in 1776 is sought. She appears to have brothers Alexander and Andrew born 1780 and 1768 in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. I also seek information about Jacob Russell who was born on April 15, 1746 in Connecticut, a loyalist who died on June 27, 1827 in Kingsclear, York County. His father appears to have been Samuel Russell and his mother Ruth Whitmore. But little can be found on his role during the Revolution or his ancestry in the U.S. and Scotland Jacob's daughter Phebe married Holden Turner's eldest son Robert.
-Ralph Turner, 14320 SW Rock Creek Road, Sheridan, Oregon, 97378-9735, United States. E-mail email@example.com or telephone (503) 843-3629.
Ruby is a genealogy buff. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.