Methodist Cemetery, Barnard, VT

Aunt Magna, Uncle Harry, Uncle Howard, and Jean are all here.

This graveyard is also called the North Road-Methodist Cemetery, and it appears – according to Google, which has been known to be wrong from time to time (cough) – to be in Bethel, the next town to the north. Note though, that all the other references describe it as in Barnard.

Either way, it is located at the intersection of North Road and Town Highway 13.

No phone, and definitely no website or Facebook page.


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Photographs from Helen, Margaret, and Howard Swain’s Childhood, c.1905-1925

In an earlier post, we glimpsed the life of a boy, Rodgers Burgin, growing up in Quincy at the very start of the 20th century.

This is the life his future wife, Helen Swain, and her siblings were leading, more or less contemporaneously, in town at 226 Commonwealth Ave., at their grandfather’s house in Exeter, and on the beach in Cohasset.


HTS and children


In no particular order. Memory, I find, skips back and forth anyway…


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Exeter Cemetery, Exeter, NH

Boopie and Gagie are here.

Address: Linden St, Exeter, NH 03833

Dr Howard Townsend Swain, Sr

Birth:  May 16, 1868 Bath, Steuben County, New York
Death:  Dec. 6, 1936 Boston, Massachusetts

Plot: Lot 224 B
Find A Grave Memorial# 145938412

Harriet French Swain

Birth:  May 28, 1868 Exeter, New Hampshire
Death:  Jul. 16, 1958 Milton, Massachusetts

Plot: Lot 224 B
Find A Grave Memorial# 145938467



Map of Exeter Cemetery



Portrait of Helen Swain As A Young Girl

When my grandmother was about four, the Boston artist, Marie Danforth Page painted her.

Here is the resulting portrait. I’m sorry it’s a low res reproduction. (Bad light and an early digital camera.) I’ll try to get a better one soon. In the meantime…




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Sperry French

Ebenezer Sperry French, father of Harriet French, was the principal of the grammar school in Exeter, NH for fifty years.  Elisha Lee has it on good authority that he was the basis for the character of “Old Francis” in Henry A. Shute’s The Real Diary of a Real Boy. (Free text available online here; a PDF of an original edition is available here; a copy can be purchased here).

Named after his father’s sister’s husband, Rev. Ebenezer Peck Sperry, he was called “Sperry” by family.  (In midlife, he went to the effort of actually dropping “Ebenezer” from his name– legally. There is a listing in the Laws of the State of NH announcing that “Ebenezer Sperry French may take the name of Sperry French.”)

It’s amazing to see him in photos with Nana (Helen Swain Burgin) and Aunt Magna (Margaret Swain Beecher), and think that his father was born during the American Revolution.





Left to right: Helen Swain, Margaret Swain, and Sperry French

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Namesake: The Historic Harriet Atwood Newell

Harriet Newell Robinson French (1828-1907) had a daughter, Harriet French Swain (1868-1958), who in turn had a granddaughter, Harriet Swain Burgin Lee (1934-).

This name – Harriet – clearly has some history attached to it, but where did that history begin? How far back does it go?

The answer is that it all began with one Harriet Atwood Newell (1793-1812), no relation whatsoever, whose much admired life runs as follows…


from Wikipedia:

Harriet Newell was born Harriet Atwood at Haverhill, Massachusetts on October 10, 1793.[1] She was part of the first wave of Christian missionaries to go overseas from the United States. She died less than a year into her journey. Following publication of her memoirs, she became a hero and role model for Christians during the nineteenth century. Many children were named for her over the following decades [emaphasis mine–LSL] including Harriet Newell Noyes who also went on to be a missionary.[2]

She married Rev. Samuel Newell in February 1812. Along with Adoniram Judson and Ann Judson [3] they went off to preach in India and Burma. They were expelled by the East India Company and sailed to Mauritius, where she died November 30, 1812. At sea she had given birth to a child who died after five days. Her memoirs were published posthumously,[4] going into a number of editions.



Harriet Atwood Newell (1793-1812)

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The Farrar Family Papers in The Lincoln Public Library

Consider this post a placeholder – for myself, or some future researcher – but there is a wealth of primary material relating to the Farrar family of Lincoln/ Concord, currently housed in the Lincoln Public library. And it’s waiting to be gone through and read.

On the genealogical bucket list, this is definitely towards the top (but behind photographing Jonathan French’s journal from the French and Indian War).



Bedford Road, Lincoln, Massachusetts


Farrar Family Collection


[The list of documents below is merely a sample.–LSL]


Series 2, Correspondence

Box # Folder # Identification # Description

  • 1 11 2003.009.2.1 Letter to Deacon Samuel Farrar, Lincoln, Mass., from children Jonathan and Rebecca French, Hampton, N.H., August 9 [1817?] (Encapsulated)
  • 1 11 2003.009.2.2 Letter to Deacon Samuel Farrar, Lincoln, Mass., from children Jonathan and Rebekah French, with note added from James French, January 12, 1824 (?) [Accessioned as 1982.56.2]
  • 1 11 2003.009.2.3 Letter to [Jonat]han French, (?) Canada, fragment. (Encapsulated) [Accessioned as 1982.56.4]
  • 1 1 12 12 2003.009.2.9 2003.009.2.9 Letter to Deacon Samuel Farrar, Lincoln, from son Letter to Deacon Samuel Farrar, Lincoln, from son Samuel Farrar, Andover, March 10, 1813.[Accessioned as 1982.56.7]
  • 1 12 2003.009.2.10 Letter to Samuel T. French, North Hampton, N.H., from brother J. F. French, Schenectady, N.Y., November 5, 1828.  (Poor condition)
  • 1 32 2003.009.4.16 Copy of part of a letter from Rev. Jonathan French, North Hampton, N.H. (husband of Rebecca Farrar) to Dea. Samuel Farrar, July 25, 1805.[Accessioned as 1982.54.7]

Series 4, Farrar Family Members

Box # Folder # Identification # Description

  • 1 33 2003.009.4.34 Brief biographical sketch of Dea. Samuel Farrar, Jr., 1737-1829, source unknown.