Photo Index    Site Guide     Byron and Hannah    England
Note: click on blue links for further information

In the fall of 1997 we began to search the annals of the library in Ipswich, Mass. This was a small room in the basement and down a narrow flight of stairs. There we found the Hammatt Papers - Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, Mass. 1633-1700. On page 266 was a listing of "Pickering, JOHN 'the elder' possessed a planting lot at the cove of the river, the easterly termination of what was called 'the Town' in 1634. According to Farmer he was a carpenter and came to New England in 1630. Admitted an inhabitant of Salem, Feb. 7,1637,died 1657." Savage-Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England writes, "Pickering John. Ipswich 1634, a carpenter, removed to Salem 1637, had there a grant of land by wife, Elizabeth, had JOHN, probably that year, Jonathon 1639; Elizabeth, baptized 3 Mar 1644, died soon; and Elizabeth again; baptized 17 Aug 1645, probably died young; and he died 1655 or 1657. The will of July 1655 was probated

The Pickering Wharf

1 July 1657. His widow remarried one John Deacon of Lynn on Dec 25 of 1657."   Another record states simply, "Pickering-A market town of North Yorkshire, England. In the reign of Edward VI, Gilbert Pickering purchased the manor Tichmersh. John, carpenter, born in England 1615, came from Newgate, in Coventry, Warwickshire, England to Ipswich Mass. 1634, removed Salem, Mass. 1637."

Torrey - New England Marriages Prior to 1700 - lists "Pickering, John and Elizabeth," no last name given. Other records give Elizabeth's last name as Alderman.

In 1651, after moving to Salem, John built a two-bedroom house on Broad Street. Originally the town carpenter, he was responsible for enlarging the first Salem meetinghouse and building the first bridge.

John had taken up the plough by 1651, building his house by the side of the street that ran through his farm. Records show that he was refused  full payment  from the Salem Council for both the meetinghouse and the bridge, citing poor workmanship and not likely to last. For the good of subsequent generations, John gave a grant of land on both sides of Broad Street so that the street to this day is very wide. The house itself has been remodeled by subsequent generations. The family has lived in the house since John built it in 1657. The Pickering House is the oldest house in America continuously occupied by the  same family.   On

The Pickering House

a fine fall day we pulled the cord, which rang the bell and were escorted through the house by amiable Henry Pickering, its present occupant.

John Pickering II (1637-94) married the girl next door, Alice Flint, who was the young widow of Henry Bullock. The records show that they were married on the afternoon of 22 August 1657, in Salem. They were the second family to occupy the house on Broad Street. In 1671 John added two new rooms on the other side of the chimney. Their children were John, Jonathon, Joseph, BENJAMIN, Edward, Sarah, William, Elizabeth and Hannah. I found out when I talked with Henry that Edward died in his infancy. I had feared running into a dead end in my search and I wondered where I was going from here because I had thought Edward was one of our ancestors.

After leaving the house, we went to the nearby Salem Library and were shown to a large room on the second floor. A fine young woman showed us how to access the records. They were far more complete. Further research revealed that our ancestor was Benjamin, son of John, born Jan. 15, 1666.

Benjamin married Jane Hobby on April 27, 1693. They had a number of children: Benjamin Jr. Aug. 3,1700; EDWARD, our ancestor, Nov. 18,1701; Alice, Nov. 19, 1703; Jane, Dec. 10,1704; Joseph born sometime in 1711 and Mary, no birth date. A sad note in the annals of Salem is written thusly: "Sabath day ye 7th day of September 1718 my brother Benjamin died alitle before sunset and was buried ye 8 day in ye evening." Benjamin was only 52 years of age and we gather from this note that his death was very sudden. Jane was forced to sell lands and possessions in order to pay the debts.

On March 12, 1724 Edward Pickering married Hannah Gowing of Lynn. His sister, Alice, married Jonathon Gaskill on Sept. 19, 1726. Alice left Salem with her husband and moved to Mendon, Mass. They very likely moved because of the persecution they were enduring for their belief. The following baptisms are recorded in the annals of Salem: Benjamin, son of Edward and Hannah Pickering, March 28, 1725; Edward Jr., son of Edward and Hannah, August 20, 1732; Samuel, son of Edward and Hannah, April 6,1735. With their three children they moved to Mendon, Mass. in 1735 following his sister, Alice Gaskill.

Mendon is still such a tiny place that it consists of just a church, a town hall and a library together with a small store. The library contained extensive research on the Pickering family. The Mendon vital records show the birth of Jonathon, son of Edward April 3, 1736 on page 140. JONATHON was our ancestor. Page 140 also shows his death in 1823 at the age of 87 years. Also shown are Hobby, son of Edward, March 27,1738 and Elizabeth, daughter of Edward, May 16,1742. The Mendon record of deaths shows Hannah, wife of Edward, Oct. 19,1764 in her 62nd year.  Fortunately, Edward had his children around  him and,  so far  as we


know, never remarried. He lived alone to the age of 93. Jonathon married Elizabeth Hunt on 28 February 1759. There were born to the union JOTHAM, Bellingham, Mass. 1760 or 61; Phoebe, David and Preserved about 1766. We have not found the record, but another son, Phineas, was born about 1771 to Jonathon and Elizabeth.

There are no records of Jonathon's occupation so we style him a farmer. Revolutionary War records show the enlistment of Jonathon, about 43 years of age, a little younger than his brothers whom also served, Samuel and Edward, Jr.

The records also show that Jonathon sold Daniel Kelly fifty acres of land on March 15, 1798. This would have placed him in Mendon at 62 years of age. His second wife, Hannah, also signed the deed. The records show that Jonathon Pickering married Hannah Wilkins on 15 Oct. 1796. We also find another record of the death of David Pickering in Blackstone, Mass. in 1768 of dropsy of the chest. The death record states that he is the son of Jonathon and Elizabeth (Hunt) Pickering.

On May 17, 1821 the Town Council of Mendon "voted to allow Preserved Pickering forty cents per week for the support his aged father, and the meeting is adjourned." May 3,1823 "voted that the town pay Preserved Pickering $15.50 for the extra expenses in the late sickness and death of his father, Jonathon." We can thus presume that Jonathon lived to the ripe old age of 87 and died in April of 1823.

Jotham is listed in the Massachusetts Soldiers of the Revolutionary War at Mendon, Mass. age 17 years. Six feet, brown eyes, dark complexion, arrived Fishkill June 7, 1778, discharged 16 Oct. 1780. He served as a private, Lieut. Col. Whiting's Co. 6th Mass. reg't. He is also listed as a Revolutionary Soldier on a plaque in the County Court House in Montrose, Pa.

Jotham married his first cousin, Alse Pickering, daughter of his uncle, Edward Jr. and his wife, Abigail. He was married Nov. 12, 1781. He lived in the 6th district "thence to Jotham Pickering's and including him." He evidently lived on the farm of his father Jonathon, next to Ichabod Pickering. "Jonathon was set off in his father's estate about 17.5 acres lying on both sides of the road southerly and adjoining Edward Jr." He lived so close no wonder he and Alse fell in love.

We also find the record of the marriage of his brother, Preserved, to Mary Cady on April 24, 1794. Another record shows the death of their daughter, Philadelphia, on March 1, 1807.

The first week of October 1997 found us making our way up and down the hills of the Catskill Mountains in New York on our way to New Milford, Pa. These were called the "Endless Mountains" because they seemed to go on forever. The trees were beginning to turn their beautiful fall colors.

The History of Susquehanna County (formerly Luzerne) states on page 194: "Jotham Pickering and his brother, Phineas, from Massachusetts originally, came to what is now Gibson in 1798, from a farm now owned by Mr. Wellman in New Milford, to which they had come in 1793." Corbet, son of Jotham Pickering, states in an article published in the Montrose Republican that his father was the second inhabitant of Gibson. Again on page 195 "the sons of Jotham were Henry, Preserved, Corbet, and POTTER." Phineas settled nearby in the vicinity of Gelatt Hollow. His sons were Augustus, Joseph and John B.

Much could be written about the trials and tribulations of these early pioneers. It was a land of hills and valley covered by dense woods, where every night could be heard the howls of wolves and of panthers. These woods provided the meat they needed. Phineas tells the story of walking home from New Milford and getting lost in the woods with wet powder. The wolves chased him up a tree where he was forced to spend the night.

We stayed a week at the campground in Hop Bottom the last week that they were open for the season. Our week there gave us the flavor of the area. We managed to find and visit with Emma Klees, the historian for the area and former Postmistress of South Gibson. She told us

that Ward Wilson had come about twenty years before searching for information and that, following his visit, she and her husband had managed to find Potter's grave in the woods and that the myrtle tree was still growing where it had been planted on his grave. She also told us how to get to Kennedy Hill where Jotham had first lived. We went north up Creamery Road and took the first right turn until it led to a place where five roads intersected. That was the place where both Jotham and Captain Potter had first lived. Following this we took the paved road from Kennedy Hill and traveled easily the fifteen miles to New Milford. We did this on a  Sunday  afternoon,   marveling  at the

Kennedy Hill

beautiful color of the leaves along the way. The daughters of Jotham and Alse were Lea, Nabby Ann and Polly. Jotham remained in Gibson Township until his death in 1809 at the age of 49. He and Alse are both buried on the top of a hill about a quarter mile from the former Potter home in a small field with only  about fourteen graves. Potter, the fifth son of Jotham

and Alse, was born in South Gibson in 1800. He died in March of 1863 near Glenwood, Pa. It is reported that he died of smallpox and was immediately buried in the woods on the back part of his farm. A myrtle tree was planted over his grave. He married Silona some time in 1826. The 1850 census of Gibson Township, Pennsylvania shows Potter Pickering, aged 50, a millwright and Silona, his wife, age 42. They had at that time Armina, age 23; Ephraim, age 21; Elizabeth,age 18;and BYRON, age 9. Armina married Robert Davenport Sparks. Ephraim married in 1853 and moved to Plainfield, Wisconsin. Elizabeth married a Mr. Brundage and stayed somewhere in the east. Byron Potter was almost 20 years old when the Civil War began. While on the way to visit his brother, Ephraim, in Plainfield, he enlisted and served until the war ended. In 1865 Byron returned home and married Hannah Marie Sparks, niece

Silona's grave

of Robert, in Youngsville, N.Y. on September 11, 1867. Their first child, Edith, was born in Great Bend, Pa. September 11,1867. In 1868 Byron and his family started the long journey from northeast Pennsylvania to Northern Wisconsin. A horse died on the way, so they sold the other one and continued the journey by train. They had a happy reunion with his brother and family.

Byron and Hannah had eight children: Edith, Sept. 11,1867; Helen, Aug. 10,1869; Myron, Feb. 8,1873; Oona, April 14, 1875; David, July 14,1878; Earl, Feb. 28, 1881; Chester Allie, March 15, 1884 and Jessie, April 7, 1889. Byron and Hannah lived in Nevins, Wisconsin for many years. Later they moved to Crane, Montana to live with his son, Myron. Hannah died there Jan. 1, 1917. Byron died Jan. 11, 1920.